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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2009
US stand-up star, Sex and The City consultant and writer of the New York Times bestselling book He’s Just Not That Into You - which inspired the box-office hit film of the same name - makes his UK debut.
Greg Behrendt - Fringe 2009
Everything promoting Greg Behrendt’s Fringe appearance mentions that he wrote the bestselling relationship book He’s Just Not That Into You and was a consultant on Sex And The City. And, in case you missed it, he mentions both facts in the opening few minutes of the show, in that false-modest way Americans do: ‘I got this job on a TV show called Sex And The City.’ As if anyone’s going to say, ‘Sex And The City? Nope, never heard of it....’
It’s part of an opening that seems like he’s running on autopilot through his standard chat-show anecdotes about the genesis of the book, as if answering the same question a thousand journalists have asked him before.
Given that his book, even by his own admission, is little more than stating the bleeding obvious for insecure women – ‘He doesn’t call you? Then maybe he’s just not that into you’ – there’s a fear that this is going to be an hour of the most banal relationship observations.
Thankfully, it’s markedly better than that, even if the show’s ambitions are unashamedly mainstream, based around scenarios any couple, or anyone who’s ever been in a couple, will recognise. Arguing over Pictionary, drunk-dialling, the different expectations of men versus women – all described astutely, if not incisively.
There are a few ‘adult’ themes, too, such as the etiquette of asking for anal sex, or ‘sex in the bottom’ as he quaintly renames it. There’s definitely the sense that he’s trying to ensure nothing’s too filthy: teasing rather than shocking, that’s the way to ensure you maintain the widest audience. Combine that with the slick delivery and taut writing that 20 years in the business brings, and Behrendt is a very safe pair of hands
As is so often the case, when he brings it down to the personal rather than the generic, the material shines. There’s the danger signs he witnessed of one early ex- or – best of all – his ultra-competitive gym encounter with John Krasinski, from the US version of The Office, after his wife confessed she had a fantasy crush on him. This is a signature piece, and rightly ends a show that might have left the world unalight, but provides an entertaining diversion nonetheless.
|Date of live review: Monday 10th Aug, '09|
Review by Steve Bennett
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