Phil Klein – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2005

Review by Steve Bennett

Klein is the possessor of the most extravagant facial hair in the business - but unfortunately his act is nowhere near as distinctive as his sideburns.

Regular compering at the small empire of open-spot gigs he runs in central London has given him a level of comfort at being on stage, but even with that near-daily experience of performing, he still doesn’t appear naturally funny.

The material never rescues him, either, with jokes that are poorly constructed and unfocussed. Some of the punnier jokes have neat wordplay at their core, which could be fashioned into stronger gags, but they’re not sold strongly enough in an act that needs a lot of fat-trimming.

He probably overplays some of the religious content, too - it’s not as if he’s the first comic to take the piss out of the Gospels, and he goes no deeper or wider than anyone who’s gone before. He talks, too, of his Jewishness, and of Zionism (in an apolitical way), which holds the attention, even if it struggles to raise many laughs.

He comes across relatively effortlessly as a nice enough bloke, but there’s a yawning gap between that and the X-factor that will elevate him from the open mic circuit. On current form, it’s a gulf Klein cannot bridge.

Review date: 1 May 2005
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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