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Resistance Is Fertile

Note: This review is from 2000

Review by Steve Bennett

Rob ­ sorry, Robert ­ Newman is clearly a man with divided loyalties.

On one hand he wants to use his one-man shows as a soapbox for the anti-capitalist views he so passionately holds.

On the other, he's well aware that his audience has paid for comedy, not a political diatribe.

It's a balancing act he performs well, though sometimes the laughs dry up, and sometimes the comedy seems shoehorned in - an unnecessary interruption to wheel out his perverted character Jarvis being the most obvious example.

But when he's on form, Newman is untouchable. He has an almost mesmeric hold on his audience, who absorb the thought-provoking politics safe in the knowledge a fantastic punchline is just around the corner.

Global corporate greed is a tricky subject for comedy since he premise of the material, though true, can be too absurd for laughs. Once you learn that a US company owns a patent for basmati rice and is suing peasant Indian farmers, the all-important suspension of disbelief is impossible.

It therefore comes as no surprise that, aside from Newman, Mark Thomas and Jeremy Hardy, there are very few comics willing to tackle such topics.

There are plenty of funnier shows on the fringe, but if you want intelligent comedy that is genuinely challenging, this is your man

Review date: 1 Jan 2000
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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