Gerry Howell – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Gerry Howell – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Newcomer Gerry Howell is definitely channelling the spirit of Eddie Izzard with his manic, effervescent stream-of-conscience set.

Ideas, jokes, obscure facts and surreal images tumble over themselves in the chaotic jostle to get from his brain to his lips, producing a messy, non-stop onslaught of words. As with Izzard, the laughs often come simply from the relief of a pause when Howell’s overheating mind struggles to make a link or judders to a halt in a comedy cul-de-sac.

But despite being a vivacious flippertigibbet, Howell does not rely on the playful energy of his performance alone. Amid the verbiose torrent, you can clearly make out his witty use of language and gloriously inventive metaphors that would crystalise into lovely jokes, given a bit of space.

Howell gushes forth with such verve that the subject matter of his routine is largely irrelevant. However, there is clearly an obsession with QI-style trivia such as the botanical classification of the peanut or the history of chicken chain Nando’s, alongside more general comments on life, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

His set hasn’t gelled yet, and not just because it often seems too close to Izzard – and Noel Fielding, for that matter – for comfort. The routines are still hit-and-miss (especially a segment about a mugger pulling a knife that’s near-identical to a piece Trevor Lock struggles to get laughs with) and the intensity of the delivery means it demands attention; if you are distracted even momentarily, you’re left a long way behind.

But all the indicators are that once he graduates from the circuit’s nursery slopes, this imaginative livewire could be a force to be reckoned with.

Review date: 24 Mar 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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