Glenn Wool: You Don't Go To Hell For Eating Elephants

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett


Like many comics, Glenn Wool tests his audience's reactions with a couple of sample jokes straight off the bat. The first relies on knowledge of a historical reference point, the second is a good ole-fashioned anal sex gag.

And that pretty much sums up Wool's hour ­ an intoxicating mix of intelligent, thoughtful, well-researched material on the issues of the day, plus proper, punchy, often silly jokes.

His delivery is faultless: perfectly expressive, precision timed and undulating in highs and lows that he leads you confidently through an emotional and cerebral journey. It's variously hectoring, teasing, seductive, serious and mocking ­ and behind that porn-star moustache his tongue is always in his cheek.

As measure of just how good he is, Wool can say, as a cold, hard fact, that China has an appalling human rights record and slaughtered 3,000 of her own people in Tiananmen Square ­ and get a laugh on it.

Such skilled command of the audience is combined with an astute political brain that enables him construct near-watertight arguments. With a consistent, but off-kilter, logic he can reach conclusions that might sound shockingly offensive, but in the context of a brilliantly put-together routine appear as perfectly valid arguments.

Nowhere is this stronger than in his keynote routines about religion, which give the show its title, as he renames religious holidays, envisages God as some clumsy but well-meaning retard. And while he might not like religious intolerants, but he's not above a bit of stupid, hateful rhetoric himself, putting those cutesy seals firmly in their place with a splendid tongue-in-cheek rant to convince you they really deserve a good clubbing.

Even in well-covered ground he finds new points to make, and nails them well with his offbeat analysis and nifty turn of phrase. Drugs raise their inevitable head, and although a piece on magic mushrooms is a little preachy, he can also toss out a short, sharp gag that doesn't depend on any of the usual stoner philosophy.

And after all that you get one of the most surprising finales on the Fringe. Be sure to witness it ­ and be sure to sit at the front.

Steve Bennett


Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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