Adam Bloom: Look At Me, Anybody

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Adam Bloom can’t disguise how proud he is. This year, his Edinburgh show has an actual, proper theme, even if, being the obsessively self-aware comic he is, the theme has to start from his own personality. His short temper, to be precise.

In honest, confessional anecdotes, he admits to anger issues. He’s always the guy who flips out at every perceived injustice, and in a society afraid of embarrassment, that always makes him the bad guy, no matter how grave the crime that sparked his outburst.

But, from his point of view, Bloom thinks he’s guilty only of caring too much about inconsideration, intimidation and bullying. Oh, that and the bodily assault which caused him to confront his own short fuse. He’s guilty of that, too.

Bloom always examines himself, and his comedy, to forensic degrees, and Look At Me Anybody? is no exception, driven by the fact that he’s over-sensitive, over-analytical and over-excitable.

These traits are beneficial in comedy, if not always in the outside world. Over-excitable? Well, that just means the hour is a hugely enjoyable thrill ride. Bloom’s full of energy, both physical and mental. He buzzes around the large stage, engaging the audience with a light-speed wit, focussed over years at the pinnacle of stand-up and able incorporate any interruption seamlessly. He has a confidence bordering, and occasionally making incursions into, the arrogant – but his sharp gags earn him that right.

His rigidly rational mind enables him to heap tag line on to tag line after each joke, or describe a hypothetical situation with a progressive series of pedantic steps, until his scenario reaches its logical conclusion. Usually this means he can take his comedy to unexplored areas, although in one crucial routine – about Muslims inflating a bouncy mosque – it means we take baby steps to a payoff his audience might get to before him, while the unexpected lies in the journey, not the destination.

By talking about anger, Bloom adds an emotional element to his cerebral comedy. And after choosing to address his own problems, his real life offers its own punchline, as good as any fiction could conceive: the anger management therapist who can barely control his own fury. Now this ill-mannered snakeoil salesman bears the brunt of Bloom’s outrage, and he recounts their row, almost blow-by-blow, with a combination of smugness and glee.

He might not like it, but it is, of course, an anger that drives Bloom’s comedy. Uppitiness is funny, contentment never is. So after this impressive show draws to a satisfying conclusion, you’ve got to hope that Bloom doesn’t completely calm down. But you suspect he never will.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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