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Devvo Dole Queue Hero
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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Devvo Dole Queue Hero
Been on E4, Channel4, BBC3, massive on YouTube, massive in Yorkshire. After all the jail time I am all about making loads of cash and you can come and join in too.
I am gonna make billions and you’re gonna make millions (I can't promise nowt. It's like Jesus and all them nets. I'm Jesus and you’re all the fish. No, the fish is the money ‘n’ you’re the water). Job quitters guide to becoming a Dole Queue Hero.
Devvo Dole Queue Hero: Fringe 2012
By allowing Alf Garnett to become a hero to the prejudiced people he parodied, Johnny Speight long ago proved that the problem of 'having your cake and eating it' doesn't really exist in comedy.
More recently, Al Murray has demonstrated you can not only have your cake and eat it - you can strenuously deny that you even knew it was cake in the first place. If Murray can hear the irony in the voices of those who cheer his Pub Landlord's sexist and xenophobic statements then he's on his own.
It's a tradition that continues with Simon Brodkin's Lee Nelson and now Yorkshireman Darren Devonshire whose Devvo character is , according to interpretation, either an astonishingly authentic portrayal of a representative of Britain's emotionally-retarded jobless underclass or an actual representative of Britain's emotionally-retarded jobless underclass.
If it's the former then perhaps the stag night atmosphere of his afternoon gig in a packed venue on the Free Fringe was evidence that his audience understands the subtle nuance of his performance and have cast themselves as a rowdy bunch of Neanderthals to lend substance to his authenticity. Or perhaps the crowd he attracts is only in Edinburgh because someone tricked them into thinking that this is where The Jeremy Kyle Show is filmed.
To be fair to Devvo, he understands his audience. They relish being called 'dickheads' by the man with the mic and they appear entirely au fait with his oeuvre. When, during his shambolic show, he can't decide what to do next, members of his audience help him out by making requests for specific 'raps'. They know his work. And his requests for a volunteer from the audience are met with a glee seldom seen at a comedy gig. 'Humiliate me' they might as well be shouting as they beg for a minute or more of Devvo's attention and the right to be repeatedly called a 'dickhead'.
So what does Devonshire do with all this energy? Not a lot. A game which has the audience suggesting corruptions of the names of celebrities to create new television programmes becomes the longest, dullest Twitter hashtag game in history. A hashtag game, if you can imagine such a thing, in which all the suggestions - no matter how bad - are read aloud and then commented upon. A sample of the sparkling wit that this game yielded: ‘Sharon Stone - it's just her stoned’ and ‘Alan Cumming - that could be a rude one or it could just be ‘I’m coming round".
After a rap called Crystal Meffi, Devvo treats us to some of his musings. These include the news that he wishes to meet Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse – the gag being that they both owe him money for the drugs he supplied them with. Even Devvo's loyal devotees seem to recognise that this is beyond the pail and the only laughter these jokes draw is the nervous variety.
Devvo is unfazed. ‘I decided I was bored as fuck and told my boss to fuck himself,’ he continues to read from his ‘musings’ before adding, ‘I took a poo off a bus shelter on the way home.’ Comedy gold.
During another allegedly 'musical' interlude, Devvo persuades the audience to join in, and they do so with the enthusiasm of a prison common room at Christmas during a sing song being led by the psychos on D Wing. Like each part of this miserable show, it goes on far longer than it should.
At least that was my reaction; this is a show that is so clearly enjoyed by its audience – and the Fringe prides itself on its eclecticism. But there is a line between comedy and crowd baiting and the audience's enthusiasm cannot excuse a performance that is vile, lazy and unfunny.
The start of this review invokes Johnny Speight and Al Murray but no-one should imagine that Darren Devonshire has created a character worthy of theirs. Speight and Murray may have benefited from the ambiguity of their respective audiences' responses but it's clear that they had parody in mind and they never set out to insult their audience.
Devonshire never stops insulting his audience – both literally and by reducing everything to a common denominator that's so low that it's beneath the gutter.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 15th Aug, '12|
Review by Jason Stone
Applause to Devvo for Saturday night's spot downstairs. He spent the first two hours in the pub milling round, speaking to everyone who came in. He then used the bits of information he gleaned from those he spoke to, to build the first 20 minutes of his 45 minute set. Clever, funny & inclusive. Also, I like working with those who leave their diva at the door, realise that they're in the The Star & Garter (it sure as hell ain't Wembley) and they get what we're about...As an insight to this... Devvo's was the easiest and least fussy sound-check I've ever undertaken. Refreshingly normal.
It's all about taste and I loved this show. It's one of the best I've seen at the fringe this year.
It's all about taste and I loved this show. It's one of the best I've seen at the fringe this year. You've just got to question whether you did your job properly. It seems as if you'd made your mind up before you'd gone in. Which is a shame.
After hearing Devvo commenting on this review, I had to read it and I am dumbfounded. It's clear that Jason was one of those people in the crowd wearing a face like a slapped arse during the whole show. Maybe he burnt his vagina on a candle; I know they look tempting but you've got to resist the urge.
I think the reviewer entirely missed the point. Whoops.
This reviewer clearly didn't bother to do his research into the history of Devvo's, David Firth's and Fat-Pie's output. However, as a fan for many years, Devvo's Free Fringe show was my personal highlight of this years Fringe. The crowd LOVED him. He's not for everyone, but David Firth is a true artist that will be highly regarded for his excellent output.
Very precious in your review. Chortle as a whole seems to have a standard in comedy that has evolved from elitest trends, snobbery and internal comedy politics. In short 'It's only when it's Chortle'. What ever happend to it being good when it's funny? DICKEEAAD!!
I assumed a reviewer's job was to objectively assess the act not rudely insult every member of the audience; the very people who are reading his reviews. How silly of me- it must be because I am one of the retarded underclass?!
I paid £10 to watch this cunt in Wigan. Dogshit humour of the highest order. Wouldn't watch him for free... Stick to your "proper," job.
I don't think you got it. He's very funny. You're a terrible, pretentious and precious writer. Get a proper job.
Fuckin whaaaaa dick head?
Wow! You entirely missed the point of devvo's fun show! A chav's take on comedy. I agree that there is room for improvement but you seem to get lost in your own ideal of what you percieve to be comedy. I've been following devvo since the early fat-pie.com days and I loved it! Pointless review. I thought reviewers were supposed to be objective. Surely if the crowd enjoyed it, then the show did what it was supposed to?
What a nasty piece of classism this review is. Heaven forbid working class people can laugh about themselves. This review is nothing but a bigot angry that people who he perceives to be an 'emotionally retarded jobless underclass' are having a better time than he is
Jason lets comedy snobbery get in the way of one of the most exciting shows on the Fringe - Jason has obviously never been Stoned but he deserves it for this... x