Nasty Show

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

If you want a ‘does what it says on the tin’ title, you can’t go far wrong with The Nasty Show. Billed as an expletive-fuelled evening of depravity, this is where the festival’s usual sensitivities are thrown out the window.

To be honest, I wasn’t much looking forward to it. Not for fear that all the nasty men (and they are, perhaps predictably, all men) would offend my delicate ears, but because given carte blanche to go as low as they like, the easiest option open to any comic is to simply be as filthy and evil as possible. Never mind the comedy, feel the sickness.

Fast-talking Bobby Slayton, pictured, has hosted this event for the past 15 years, and is worried the audience might have become anesthetised to the show’s shock value. Heaven forbid, as then the acts would need actual jokes, too. "You’re like roaches," he tells the audience. "You’ve built up a resistance to the spray."

As he launches into an OJ joke – expressing sympathy for that old devil – the jury remains out. It’s a decent joke, rich in what may or may not be ironic misogyny. But come on, OJ? In 2004?

But as the set progresses, the pace, aggression and passion ramp up more. Sure the topics may be achingly familiar - the male idea of foreplay, his uncontrollable impulse to ogle women and, of course, masturbation – but Slayton has irrepressible style, and a way with metaphor that is brilliantly funny, if oh-so wrong.

There’s no escaping that those of his comments based on ignorance and lazy stereotypes are downright offensive (gags based on the idea that all Asians look alike, for example) – but when the targets are more focussed, the filth is easily forgiveable.

He holds the night together brilliantly and drops in enough quotable one-liners to fuel any lads’ night out. You can tell he’s done this before… even if you mightn’t guess how often.

First of the featured acts is Greg Fitzsimmons, who mimes the act of masturbation so often you almost fear for his eyesight.

Again the premise of his set, a neanderthal jealousy of his baby son’s breastfeeding, has been used before. But it’s the sheer audacity of the way he continually raises the bad-taste stakes that proves a winner here, not to mention the spirited performance.

But the uncrowned king of the sexually explicit material has to be Mike Wilmot. Though a semi-adopted Brit, on home Canadian soil he proves unstoppable.

In place of the expected well-crafted party piece about his own inadequacies in the sack, which has served him so well in the past, comes a barrage of newer material. Not that it strays too far from Wilmot’s favourite subjects, though.

His low-down and dirty take on everything from buggery to talking dirty to the application of haemorrhoid tablets (a description so graphic it must surely come from close experience) is simply irresistible. Your sensibilities don’t have the chance to be offended, as you’re already laughing at the irrepressible no-holds-barred brilliance. This is so funny it can’t be wrong.

Sean Rouse has been described as ‘morally repugnant’ at which he seems to take offence. Perhaps if he didn’t call women ‘bags of flesh who hold spunk’ he might get a better press.

This was the sort of act I’d been dreading: gratuitously offensive but without the strength of jokes to match, he just comes across as an utterly unlikeable, aggressive type, not redeemed by the brilliant lines that of his predecessors tonight. The difference is reflected in the audience response: he gets the laughs, but they are nothing like as loud or as hearty as earlier.

NickDiPaolo is similarly disappointing, if not more so as he’s the headliner – at least in the running order, if not in quality. He hates it when people take his outlandish views literally, he claims, but then if the jokes were better, we wouldn’t.

Brutish, brutal and angry, he’s a shock-jock of stand-up… all stance and attitude, no substance to back it up. The very antithesis of laid-back Wilmot. Forget the swaggering stance, and look at the jokes instead.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
July 2004

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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