Phil Jerrod

Phil Jerrod

Phil Jerrod began stand-up in 2012. He was a finalist in the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 2014.
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Phil Jerrod: Hypocrite

Review by Jay Richardson

Phil Jerrod wants a do-over. So this second successive 'debut' show addresses the criticism of last year's hour that he's inauthentic, that he contrives his thundering, theatrically delivered fury.

To this he responds in two ways, pointing out that he was experiencing plenty of anger in his day job when he came to write the show, if not by the time he'd quit and was performing it.

But he also promises that this year's hour will be full of lies, hypocrisies and artifice. Without the pre-requisite epiphany of so many Fringe hours, save the supposed trauma of turning 40, he's working with what he has or hasn't got.

I don't know if this disclaimer helps, planting seeds of doubt. I was happy to suspend my disbelief in his entertaining disillusionment and bitterness last time round. The spirit of the angst felt genuine enough, if not the specifics.

But now, when he tells you that rather than being a middle-class toiler desperately trying to keep up with the Joneses, he's actually of working-class stock, an over-written gag about his parents fleeing Thatcher's pogroms seems neither funny enough to justify the charade, or revealing enough if based on bare-faced truth.

To be fair, the converse is also true. He'll deliver an exquisite line that's patently fiction, then immediately top it with what you assume is closer to the reality of his debt-ridden, cramped flat existence. Although satisfying in isolation, the back and forth rug pulling gets a little tiring over the hour. He's not a performer you'd associate with subtlety, regardless of the precise scripting and his capacity for a sculpted bon mot.

Certainly, there's no denying the delight of hearing him reiterate 'I punched a bat out of the air!' But you wonder who's he repeating this for, as we inevitably got onboard with the story the first time he bellowed it. He even acknowledges his over-intensity in his hot room with the breathe-and-stretch session he uses to break the hour at the 40-minute mark.

The problem could be that by supplanting the audience's agency to judge the truth of his claims, he's robbing himself of some of the gift of surprise. Did he, a white man, really begin singing the theme tune to a popular African-American TV series during an academic forum on race relations? Maybe, maybe not, he might just have made it up. The incidental detail isn't sufficient to convince you either way. And the reveal when it comes doesn't have the punch of revelation or the joy of invention. Rather it's a botch of the two.

Because his flights of fancy truly can be marvellous. Witness his dealings with his bank Santander, personified as a Hispanic Mafioso, cosying up to him with a mix of avuncular familiarity and menace. Or a running gag about easing the suffering of human bereavement by preparing with pets, a wonderful expansion of the logic behind this common means of coping.

Despite a sort of twist at the end, Jerrod doesn't really get into the ramifications of lying and hypocrisy. And in the curiously underdeveloped mugging tale with which he opens, undermining his feeling that when destiny called, he'd act heroically, there's the sense of this being an hour that didn't quite come together before the festival began.

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Published: 26 Aug 2016

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Comedy Reserve


Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Phil Jerrod: Neanderthal


Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Phil Jerrod: Hypocrite


Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Phil Jerrod: Submerged


Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Phil Jerrod: Unrelatable


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