Jimeoin On Ice
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
See Jimeoin gracefully skate through brilliantly funny observations on the absurdities of everyday life
Irishman Jimeoin is something of a stand-up celebrity in Australia, where he now spends most of his time, and it can surely only be these prolonged absences that are limiting his success on this side of the planet.
He is one of the most accessible acts around, with nothing in his set that you won’t be able to relate to, whoever you are, and that tends to equal commercial success. But while his material is universal it is also – crucially – unique.
Every observational comedian comments on things we’ve all secretly noticed. In the wrong hands this can make for the blandest of sets. But Jimeoin is one of the elite who spots things we didn’t even know we all knew, then elevates them into hilarious routines, expertly executed, that resonate with the entire audience. It wouldn’t be too big a leap to mention him in the same breath as such masters of the genre as Jerry Seinfeld.
No aspect of life escapes his eagle eye, with daft routines on everything from coughing to lion taming. Occasionally these will strike such a chord with someone that they’ll laugh well past the end of the segment – and possibly all the way home - a sure sign that they’ve noticed their own foibles being exposed.
There are instances when his chosen topic will be just too trivial to engage, but these are rare and brief, so the dips can happily be passed off as a chance to regroup before the next onslaught, excused with a casual, but confident, confession that: ‘That’s just an observation really, with not much of a joke’.
Insignificance is no bar to wit, as Jimeoin can reduce an audience to hysterics merely by impersonating a washing machine cycle with devastating accuracy, in a superbly silly routine that’s one of the highlights of this masterly show.
This segment, like so much of Jimeoin’s appeal, relies on his subtly expressive face, able to convey almost any emotion – even to the back of the balcony – with a twitch of his generous eyebrow. This ability forms the basis for one of his most enduring routines – not included in this On Ice performance – although a couple of old favourites, such as his finding the funniest part of the stage, do get another run-out here.
All is in keeping with his well-defined stage persona of the endearingly incompetent male, easily amused then becoming obsessed by the thinks that make him laugh, picking away to the nth degree.
Maybe the Hokey Cokey (or Hokey Pokey) IS what it’s all about, he ponders – as other comics have done before him. But this is not a just a clever-but-throwaway one-liner, but a full-on monologue, really picking apart the children’s song.
Like a true idiot savant, this restrained but childish sense of fun hides a sharp mind, but also allows him to simply muck about – as he does with an effects pedal after he grabs his guitar for the last few minutes of the show. This is all very inconsequential, even by his ephemeral standards, and isn’t the strongest part of the show– but that sense of playfulness sees him through.
The hour flies by, and there are some damn fine routines en route. He might not be in the UK that often, especially outside the Edinburgh Fringe, but that’s all the more reason to see him while you can.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
London, February 10, 2008