Jefferson & Whitfield – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Double acts are rare on the comedy circuit; that split paycheque proving too offputting for all but the most committed partnerships. But Jefferson & Whitfield have been going a good while now – and in their act, you can see the advantages of collaboration.

They feed off each other’s confidence and energy, each taking up the other’s slack, often talking over each other, which allows hecklers no quarter. This provides them with the sort of inherent swagger that gives the audience faith that they know what they doing. How misplaced that confidence turns out to be…

They banter quick and hard – if not especially wittily – with the crowd; even if their approach can appear rather aggressive in the wrong environment. A toughness learned over countless late-night Jongleurs encounters seemed overpowering in the much politer room where Chortle most recently caught them – threatening, with an uncomfortable laugh, to take out one punter and give him a good kicking for no greater crime than having been the butt of an earlier comic’s jokes.

Still, this isn’t the crux of what they do. That, disappointingly, is to make a series of cheap, lazy and tired jokes about oral sex and condoms… and then set some of them to music.

Changing the words of The Greatest Love Of All to The Safest Love Of All is about the apex of their humour; and while they might be decent, soulful musicians, it’s hard to find much funny about this. Such a song might have scraped a place in a low-rent sketch show in the Eighties, when the anti-Aids campaign made contraception the reference of choice for every uninspired comedian, but surely we’ve moved on – and grown up – from this?

But the dated context is nothing as to the dullness of this material. There are few jokes behind the obvious switching of lyrics, which, sadly, isn’t enough to provide a set of any substance or merit.

Review date: 20 Mar 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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