Jonny & Joe Show

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

In theory, this sketch show has everything going for it. It’s original, with a distinctive, stylish feel, and performed with confidence by an obviously talented young double-act who already have one innovative Edinburgh show, The Future, to their names. The writing and execution is subtle, full of pregnant pauses and uncomfortable moments, and yet, and yet…

While there’s loads to admire here, I didn’t actually find much of it funny, however much I wanted to. A minority – a sizeable minority, for sure – loved it, chuckling on cue with every embarrassed half-finished sentence, but I became increasingly frustrated waiting for the substantial promise of hilarity hanging over the venture to be fulfilled.

Johnny Sweet and Joe Thomas don’t go in for characterisation much, always playing socially awkward middle-class people, whatever the situation. Johnny has a bemused, semi-idiotic smile almost permanently etched on his face, while the fresh-faced Joe has been in E4’s The Inbetweeners, which certainly seems to be helping them shift tickets.

You instinctively want to like them both, bless their socially awkward personas. Whether a policeman and a killer making polite small-talk, or playing a game of Who Am I? with stupid, unhelpful questions, the show’s humour often lies in their struggle to communicate. That, or the strange physicality the duo sometimes indulge in.

One scene is announced as their ‘unfinished sketch’, but the term could apply to a lot of them, with the innovative ideas the duo undoubtedly generate just left to hang there, not being properly exploited. Joe, for example, claims to have come up with a brand new shape. Which as a random non-sequiteur is pretty good. But then he draws it, and talks about it for a bit, which doesn’t add much until the concept peters out. Cue the blackout they use to get them out of a lot of ailing scenes.

The show is certainly interesting, in that you can see the duo moulding their own ideas of what the malleable putty that is comedy should be. But ‘interesting’ doesn’t always get the job done, and, in this case, that’s a genuine shame.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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