Henry Ginsberg – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Henry Ginsberg has the appearance of someone who spends more time in the Forbidden Planet sci-fi store than is healthy, and has no doubt endured lots of unwarranted jibes because of the fact. In response, he’s developed many self-deprecatory defences, all of which have found their way into his act.

He is the very personification of social awkwardness; the sullen, introspective type made an outsider by his low-level misanthropy and all-enveloping cloak of pessimism, a description which certainly doesn’t make him sound the ideal candidate for a jolly japester.

But he has managed to channel his fractured relationship with the rest of humanity into some decent material, of which he is unfailingly the butt: whether it’s mothers fearing he’s a paedophile, or the social faux pas his bleak outlook can easily lead to. He would claim he’s not bleak, just realistic, but his comedy is certainly jet-black at the core.

Despite that downbeat approach, he cuts a surprisingly amenable figure, and valiantly attempts to forge genuinely funny jokes from his lonely standpoint rather than wallowing in it. There are plenty of successes, including his hatred of indie-kid poseurs or memories of junior-school maths lessons, though the set does stumble into self-indulgence as it goes on.

There’s no avoiding the feeling that this is a newish act still finding his way, occasionally slipping into too-easy subjects or struggling to convert ideas into jokes, but the deadpan demeanour and resignation that he’s never going to be fully accepted into mainstream society provide him with a sold basis on which to build.

Review date: 4 Dec 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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