Andrew J. Lederer's Anthology

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

At the start of his show, New York comic Andrew J Lederer warns that the hour will not be laugh-a-minute gags; it will be simply him telling one extraordinary story from his life. And indeed it is ­ with plenty of digressions.

The journey is more important than the destination with Lederer and, along the way, he shares an apartment with a giant Mexican guy shaped like a soccer ball with a moustache; lives inside Paramount Studios as a bum with everyone thinking he is an actor playing the part of a bum; takes a car trip across the US with a crackhead who is giving up but went on a final nine-hour crack binge before leaving and who believes their car on fire; lives in the New York subway system; wears other people's clothes left behind in laundrette dryers; and secretly lives in the basement of his parents' house without them knowing.

'What doesn't kill you,' says Lederer, 'shows you how stupid you are.'

Then, while preparing this show, he ends up reliving the lifestyle he is writing about and which he thought he had left behind. Stories within stories within stories.

Lederer is a man who can ad-lib in ornate, grammatically correct sentences. He is, in the best way, a man who knows a little about a lot and admits. 'I am exceedingly digressive. I was going to call this show The Parenthetic Man.'

Suitably, it took him 15 minutes to start the show, telling us instead of a girl he had met in Edinburgh two days before, that Benelux is the only collection of countries that sounds like a vacuum cleaner and that he constantly fails.

He is so worried about failure that he digresses at length to avoid the start of something at which could fail ­ this show. That avoidance makes for an even better show ­ turning him into a stand-up Tristram Shandy.

He is a man who just enjoys talking for its own sake. Don't expect gags, but it is an interesting journey. The Andrew J Lederer shows which don't work are more enjoyable than most other comedians' successfully scripted shows.

John Fleming

 

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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