Brendan Burke – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Brendan Burke’s relaxed, storytelling style is almost a cliché of Irish stand-up; the naturally amiable raconteur entertaining with tales from his life.

Many of these come from his previous life as a microbiologist – but it’s not quite as dull as is seems: he did used to work in Saddam’s Baghdad.

Yet the rest is more everyday, the universal observations designed to connect directly with the audience. In fact, even his stories from Iraq don’t come across as all that much out the ordinary, although they must surely have been remarkable experiences.

This brand of anecdotal, observational shtick isn’t perhaps the most fashionable of stand-up styles; not that Burke cares too much about that. No one does a irony-free routine about the difference between dogs and cats is ever going to be cutting edge, no matter how much Izzardesque anthropomorphism he throws in.

It’s all done with an undeniable good humour, mind, and Burke has an instinct for playful mischief that influences much of his set.

His style is as relaxed as you might expect for someone who’s been performing comedy for more than a dozen years, and he always has the audience’s attention without resorting to shouty shenanigans.

But what he delivers is a gentle amble, rather than anything more intense that might really stretch his comedic muscles. As such, the tales don’t linger long in the memory – even if you do enjoy them at the time.

Review date: 1 Oct 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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