Angelos Epithemiou at the 100 Club

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Angelos Epithemiou, the new regular on Shooting Stars, is the owner of a burger van, and ambles on stage in his anorak, greased-down hair and tracksuit pants and carrying a cheap plastic carrier bag, before studiously measuring out the microphone cable, to delay the point at which he actually has to say anything.

Comedy can be about messing with the audience’s expectations. And Epithemiou – the creation of Dutch Elm Conservatoire comedian Renton Skinner – is one of the new breed of ‘anti-comedians’ who does this by refusing to do almost anything that might be construed as a joke. Instead, he affects a nervous delivery of the sort you can see at open mic nights up and down the country, and delivers weak observations about ‘Gordon Browns’ being ‘a disabled’, acts out obscure ‘impressions’ or bluntly attempts audience banter.

A lot of this falls flat, as indeed it’s supposed to, although the distinction between this sort of ironic, deliberate ineptitude and something that’s just rubbish is a fine one. The audeince only know Skinner’s pretending because that’s what they’re primed for in a big gig such as this, and because he occasionally hits the off-beat laugh perfectly, interrupting one of his own set-ups with precision timing.

But more often than not, it is just awkward, especially in his extended finale in which he mimes to an ancient Mud track, which is initially hilarious but soon saps the patience. Tellingly, one of the biggest laughs comes when he does a pub-style gag that he professes not to understand, but it works better than most of the deliberately stilted material.

By strange quirk of fate, Epithemiou isn’t the only roadside-café-owner-cum-semi-reluctant-entertainer to have emerged in recent months, but his TV appearances are likely to put paid to any ambitions of the superficially similar Brian Gittins. Bbut as a live act sustaining 20 minutes, Epithemiou needs more giggles. Perhaps Shooting Stars creator Bob Mortimer, in the audience tonight, could give him a few pointers.

Review date: 13 Sep 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: 100 Club

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