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Benny Boot: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Benny Boot is a quirky, original and droll gag-writer, so it’s something of an anticlimax that this hour never quite builds up enough momentum to make the most of them.

Wrapping himself around the microphone stand and delivering a lazy, strangulated Australian drawl, he projects the image of a strange otherworldly philosopher, reducing human behaviour to eccentric one-liners.

Many of his best lines have a similar  twisted logic to Stephen Wright’s fines. He applies perverse lateral thinking to contrived problems that don’t really exist – then reverse-engineers them into jokes that baffle logic. Then add a topper or two, and you have a well-packaged morsel of oddness.

But this is a very stop-start approach for a full show – and as he admits at the start: ‘I just do jokes and sometimes jokes do not work. They die.’

It’s true. He has a few that just don’t shine, and after every one, it’s as if Boot is back to the start, having to re-establish his comic credentials again.

There are a couple of attempts to break the pattern: a surreal new take on rock-scissors-paper, a bit of audience participation about favourite animals (just as a preamble for one bit); and, to end, a guitar track – a soporific strumming to underpin the jokes reminiscent of Demetri Martin.

Mostly, though, the gags are left to stand or fall on their own two feet, and mostly prosper.  Sometimes they have their grounding in something real and relatable, but then take an unusual turn; other times they are just odd from the get-go. Eccentric gems include considering fire extinguishers to be doing jobs of work, planning his  own funeral surprise, or describing the consequences of killing  a spider with the first aerosol to hand.

Distilled down, these are a certain kind of warped genius – it’s just unfortunate that collectively, and mixed with jus a smattering of less successful jokes –  they don’t amount to more.

Review date: 5 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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