Josh Howie – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Josh Howie – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Cleary taking his cue from Woody Allen, Joshua Howie – another bespectacled, bookish insecure Jewish man in therapy – offers a rewardingly cerebral brand of stand-up.

As his comedy comes from the head, not the heart, Howie isn’t the sort of act who can rely on an instinctive bond with the audience or raging passion in his belly to drive his act forward. But what he lacks in this department, he more than makes up for in challenging, intelligent wit.

His set is slavishly structured so every word serves the joke. There’s little banter or digression; everything is a well thought-out set-up to an equally crafted gag. Sometimes the punchline comes from simple wordplay, but more interestingly it’s often based on his willingness to say the most inappropriate thing, whether it be on rape, Palestine or racism.

These double-edged gags – part shock value and part incisive commentary – are what stay in the mind. But he’s a very analytical comic, careful to put everything in context, so these lines are never really offensive as they superficially appear. The gentle self-deprecation that underpins his set helps, too.

It’s an act that demands the audience be alert – and preferably intelligent, liberal and literate in the ways of comedy too – but generally rewards that attentiveness. Not every gag is a guaranteed banker, but plenty are, resulting in a skilful routine that’s as funny as it is fascinating.

Review date: 1 Aug 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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