Anthony J Brown – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

The most obvious thing to mention about Brown is his uniquely stylised delivery, irritating but effective in equal measures.

He’s the deadest of all the deadpans, taking such an age to form each dour line that you fear the audience probably have time to nip to the bar and back between the feedline and the punch.

That they generally don’t is testament to just how well it works in Brown’s hands, for few would want to miss the next gem to ooze languidly from his lips.

The mood is set from the get-go, as he meticulously, and pointlessly, arranges the microphone cable as if oblivious to the fact that there’s an audience to be entertained.

Throughout, he gently caresses the stand, all the while preening himself and delicately plucking imaginary specks of lint from his tailored suit. The jokes seem like an unnecessary intrusion into this lazy vanity. Glaciers move more quickly - and have more warmth.

The jokes themselves share that aloofness; knowing two-liners, wry puns and a disdain for his fellow man the order of the day. He even manages to disguise some ‘my girlfriend’s so ugly…’ gags under the dryly ironic attitude and crawling delivery.

The pace is sometimes painful as you will him to get on with it; the agony of the wait only relieved with the pay-off. It’s all slightly sado-masochistic.

This sort of approach is to cool to ever have them rolling in the aisles, but the good jokes – which is about two-thirds of them - do get appreciated. And boy, do they need to be good to flourish in such an arid atmosphere.

A cynic would say the snail’s pace has the advantage of requiring about half the material of other acts; but then he’s without the banter to shore up anything that’s not up to scratch. Indeed, his idea of banter is to lob a nasty, barbed insult into the audience.

Ultimately, he’s an act you’ll probably remember more for the delivery than the material, good as most of it is. But at least you will remember him.

Review date: 1 Nov 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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