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Tom Arnold gala
Show type: Montreal 2004
Tom Arnold gala
This show has not yet got a description.
Original Review:Tom Arnold was last in Montreal 11 years ago. Since then, he’s lost 250lbs – by divorcing Roseanne.
That opening gag pretty much sets out Arnold’s stall. He’s famous because he married Roseanne, even more famous for divorcing her. And it’s still fuelling his career, with at least half a dozen quips about the topic cracked this night.
But there’s at least two strings to his bow. Now he hosts The Best Damn Sports Show, Period on Fox, so tonight’s gala theme is sports – to the bemusement of anyone who knows puck all about hockey. Which, given the raucous response from the theatre, is just me.
Sicilian comic Tammy Pescatelli opens the show – with plenty of the obligatory quips about ‘her people’. We’ve all seen Godfather.
But there’s more to this witty Wisegal than the Mob, and she has a smart, charming line in everything from relationships to plastic surgery. It’s solid, classy and funny stuff – and I’d have said so without the horse-head reminder?
Compared to Pescatelli, Steve Patterson has a boring name – which he makes much of - and the material to match.
OK, so that’s not entirely fair, there are some quirky ideas knocking around, but they never really hijack the attention. As well as his own name, he’s obsessed by Enrique Inglesias, to a disconcertingly unnatural degree, and it’s that which provides the second half of his set – but it’s still not enough to make him stand out.
Local lad David Pryde similarly lacks anything to make him distinctive, even though he chooses a wide range of disjointed topics to try to find the funny. But it works out a bit too random to get a feel for his point of view. Though his gag called Second Thoughts does surprise with its invention.
On the other extreme, Greg Morton is not someone you will forget in a hurry. He’s best described as a fat, black Lee Evans – a Latex-faced funnyman with goofy teeth, jutting ears and the gift to be able to contort them into laugh-out-loud funny expressions.
His material is tripe, by and large, talking about such well-covered topics as airport security, but it doesn’t matter one bit; this man has got funny bones.
The set-ups are delivered with due deadpan, but then he maniacally pantomimes an exaggerated reaction, grimacing at the stupidity of the world and giving a little Muttley-like laugh to underline his point.
Fantastically, naturally funny, this great physical comic is never going to be out of work. His face that will grace countless adverts and wacky film parts – and in the flesh, he is hilarious.
Flesh is something Joe Starr has plenty of. He’s an overweight comic. And, in case you couldn’t see for yourself, he mentions it – a lot.
Although it’s not pushing the envelope by making gags about his fat, lazy , insensitive self – they are very well written and delivered with such conviction and self-deprecating charm that it works. And it’s a persona that’s worked well enough for Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin, so why shouldn’t a human benefit from it too? Other material doesn’t quite work so well, but you certainly have to praise the lard.
Sinbad’s a huge man, a huge star and a huge presence – as evidenced by the impressively enthusiastic welcome he received from the Montreal crowd. And he repaid them with plenty of material about their city, their language and their oh-so crazy use of the Celsius system of temperature measurement.
The partisan crowd couldn’t get enough, laughing with such vigour that they are left wheezing for air. The fact he barely said one funny thing didn’t seem to bother anyone. “Teenagers: if we knew what you’d be like at 13, do you think we would ever have had you,” for instance, is greeted as if it were the greatest joke ever written. Baffling.
The fresh-faced Ryan Belleville offered a change of pace, with a couple of enjoyable routines about the defence mechanisms of beavers and the risks of outdoor sex. It didn’t rely on relentless punchlines, so suffers a bit in the laughs-per-minute stakes, but he did provide a diverting and engaging set.
Headlining was Britain’s – and Iran’s - Omid Djalili, proving as good value as always, even if he has been in better form.
The audience didn’t quite know how to respond as he played up to the image of the scary, manic, Westerner-hating Middle Easterner, but when he changed his target to the English side of his personality, it proved a lot more accessible.
Any remaining doubts were redeemed by the disco-dancing finale, as he animatedly shimmied and wobbled across the stage in a physical routine sure to land him immortality in the TV trailers showing the weird and wacky comics who come to Just For Laughs.
Staying in the Middle East, the finale was intended as a gloriously poor-taste musical based on those infamous images from Abu Ghraib jail. To pull off something as bold as this requires great spirit and conviction – which they just did
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