John Gordillo – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

John Gordillo – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Back on the circuit after a few years’ hiatus, John Gordillo remains a refreshing performer, with a canon of intelligent, provocative material.

But although the content may be smart, he make sure its accessible, thanks to an open, animated delivery and careful writing that leads the audience along his chosen train of thought.

He often starts with a fairly straightforward observation, such as overexcited theatre reviewers urging audiences to literally ‘kill for a seat’ or the extravagant labels describing the lives of free-range chickens before their slaughter – but picks away at the subjects obliquely and relentlessly to find fresh jokes.

Occasionally he crosses the line, as his need to push the envelope goes too far – most notably in a routine about the World Trade Center movie that starts as a comment on serving tragedy as entertainment but quickly becomes gratuitously graphic.

And very occasionally he doesn’t quite crystalise his bright ideas into the perfect form of words for maximum impact. But as an established director of Eddie Izzard’s Unrepeatable and Live At The Ambassadors and countless Edinburgh shows – he knows, and freely acknowledges, that fact, which again makes him more human in the eyes of the audience.

These slight difficulties are, however, an inevitable product of trying to be more creative with comedy, taking it away from tied-and-tested formula and into more unexpected terrain – yet aware that cleverness always comes a clear second to funniness.

The best example of this is his knowing subversion of the usual ‘you’ve been a great audience’ sign-off, simultaneously exposing the line for the insincere cliché it is, making the audience feel smart for joining in on the joke – and making it impossible for any subsequent act to leave the stage with the same empty platitude.

Review date: 7 Dec 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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