Brendon Burns: Not For Everyone

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

Brendon Burns is worth watching for one simple reason: he's got something to say.

Admittedly, his agenda isn't always unique, and his cocky posturing can grate, but you can't deny the man has passion, and that's what makes him so captivating

Edinburgh, he says, is the only time of year he can talk about what he wants to. He's playing to people who paid to see him, rather than roomfuls of drunken idiots after some generic comedy line-up. Occasionally, he confesses, he hates his audiences so much he stubbornly refuses to say anything that may possibly entertain them.

Not really a problem here. Burns sets out his stall fairly early on with a tirade of sick gags about 12-year-old Oriental prostitutes or the plus points of being on a bus with a suicide bomber - and promises darker stuff to come.

This material can come over as gratuitous, but it sets the level. Not For Everyone is as much a health warning as a title.

Things get more interesting as he gets more political. Burns's stance is very similar to that of US satirist Michael Moore - someone he dislikes for his opportunism ("It seems there's quite a market for complaining about the market"), though he admits he'd be equally hypocritical should he ever get the opportunity.

But for now he's the radical. He thinks President Bush allowed the Twin Towers to be targeted, compares the Middle East to Nazi Germany but with Arabs as 'the new Jews' and rages against the genetic selection which spells the 'genocide' of Down's Syndrome sufferers.

Hard-hitting stuff, and done with intelligence and wit. You may not agree with him, but you'll listen, thanks to his powerful style - striding the stage, spitting venom and daring the audience to be offended. Yes, it is somewhat derivative - but then what form of stand-up isn't?

Burns tempers the serious stuff with a bit of teasing, from time to time stepping back with a more playful 'just messing with you' kind of line, suggesting he's not the ball of fury his rock-and-roll image conveys and ensuring the comedy content remains high.

Not For Everyone, maybe. But if you want a bit of spice in your comedy, Burns is the man for you.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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