Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
Simon B Cotter
Snorri Hergill Kristjansson
Special guest who cannot be named
Stephen K Amos
Steve N Allen
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Michigan, Lynch began writing comedy sons while a drama student at Western Michigan University in the early Nineties.
He moved to New York in 1996 with the hope of becoming an actor, although found greater success in the city's comedy clubs, although he had to supplement his meagre earnings from performing with a string of temporary jobs.
He worked his way up through the nightclub and college circuit and in 2000 recorded his first Comedy Central Presents special, and his first studio album A Little Bit Special. He started opening for comedians including Jeff Foxworthy, Steven Wright, Bobcat Goldthwaite and Lewis Black and 2004 toured as a twin headliner with Mitch Hedberg.
Lynch took a break from the comedy circuit for most of 2006 to star in the Broadway musical version of The Wedding Singer.
In 2008, he starred in his second Comedy Central special and performed his first European tour, including dates in Britain. He also played the Reading and Leeds festivals, Pimm's Summerfest in London on Bulmer's Comedy Festival in Dublin. Most dates sold out, due to the popularity of his songs on YouTube.
His second album, 3 Balloons, was released in 2009 in the States and 2010 in the UK, and he performed a short series of dates here to launch it.
Stephen Lynch: 3 Balloons
YouTube has been good to Stephen Lynch. With an internet-friendly of brevity, music and adolescent’s sense of bad taste, having most of his material to the web has boosted his fan base, rather than eroded it.
With no mainstream media profile to speak of, this good-looking American can fill sizeable British venues, such as the 2,400-seater Brixton Academy, with adoring fans. And I do mean adoring – he’s given a rock-star’s welcome as the auditorium is filled with hollers, cat-calls and the flashing of a thousand cameras. YouTube will be awash with even more poor-quality recordings of his songs after this mini UK tour.
This is one of those gigs that’s hero-worship as much as comedy; roars of approval are more common than laughs, and any quiet moment is filled with gobby lads irritatingly yelling out demands for his back catalogue – much to his chagrin as it’s the new album, 3 Balloons, he wants to showcase.
The crowd just want to hear things they know – typical for a band, but usually anathema to a comedian relying on the element of surprise. They don’t even care, particularly, whether it’s Lynch’s own work they hear – when he sarcastically launches into Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin in irritation at being treated like a jukebox, the reaction is one of the best of the night.
For those who don’t already know Lynch’s canon, the appeal is less clear-cut, with many of his lyrics taking a very easy route to laughs. Distinctive stand-ups are largely expected to do more than reel out lazy gags about Aids, haemorrhoids and unkempt pubic hair then put on a ‘retard’ voice – but this is the regressive bread-and-butter of Lynch’s songwriting. Towards the end he sings a song about ‘big titties’ as a montage is projected behind him, just in case the subtle message of the track might be lost.
This is typical of the frat-boy level at which he largely operates – and he knows it. ‘Move over Chris Rock, move over Tim Minchin,’ he acknowledges sardonically… but there’s no escaping the truth that he’s comedically a long way behind those two. He’s a strong musician, though, and his elegant songs both tunnel into your subconscious and lend his gags a classiness they don’t really deserve, as there’s no escaping the undemanding nature of much of the supposedly ‘offensive’ humour.
There’s more fun to be had when he doesn’t head straight below the belt. Little Tiny Moustache – about a Nazi girlfriend – is a gag-packed stand-out, reminiscent of the much-lamented Corky And The Juice Pigs at their finest. And even in his more obvious songs, there are plenty of smaller gags to liven up the predictable – from the wry, musical opening joke in the intro to the song Waiting to breaking into a New Kids On The Block dance during D&D.
Away from the music, things are altogether less assured as he mucks around in a semi-scripted way his brother Drew and David Josefsberg, an impressive vocal talent who co-starred with Lynch in the Broadway version of the Wedding Singer. These frustratingly scrappy segments dissipate any momentum, rather than build on it.
Still, Lynch’s fans go away more than happy and thoroughly entertained by his nicely packaged, but none-too-exciting musical comedy. But I’d rather wait till Mr Minchin rolls into town again…
|Date of live review: Sunday 7th Mar, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
Mr Bennett did you see the same show! I have been an internet follower of Stephen Lynch for a while and seen him live in Glasgow last weekend for the first time... it's now Thursday and I am still smiling it was that good. Should maybe try out some cookery reviews, more normal for you. I dare anyone to go see him live and not have more than an awesome night! And that is a money back guarantee!
Stephen Lynch has a huge fan base all over the world so it is clear,Mr Bennett, that he must be doing something right!!
Stephen Lynch is like no other. The 'show' is like no other comedy night. The show was great. Steve Bennett probably got his ticket for free - this annoys me.
I was at this show on friday and have to say that the reviewer is obviously not a fan or simply 'doesn't get it'. I haven't had such a hilarious evening in a long time. Just because a comic's style of humour is crude doesn't that the man himself is in any way shape or form. To make people laugh with this kind of humour is VERY hard, if you get it even a little wrong, you'll crash and burn in no time at all. Not only that, his interplay with the crowd was fantastic, so calm and sincere. Love Stephen Lynch, can't wait for him to come back.
What a croc, Lynch is the king of musical comedy. Even when yopu know every punch line you are left with a song that is well crafted melodically so you keep want to listening to it. Can't say that for Mr Minchin's work, as for content 'canvas bags' is such a clever song 'not' and 'F sharp' 'not' as for Chris rock, we are sick of hearing about jokes relating to the colour of his skin 'really original'. People clearly like what Stephen Lynch does and he should keep on doing it.
Steve Bennet should check his grammar, and his funny bone. Both are dead it seems.
Stephen Lynch: 3 Balloons