Simon Munnery – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Simon Munnery – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Simon Munnery is one of those acts who is often called a ‘comedians’ comedian’, such is the original way he pushes at the boundaries of stand-up. But that tag would do him an injustice, given it can be shorthand for an act who’s elitist and inaccessible, able only to entertain his colleagues, but not the audience.

He can, should the mood take him, go down that path, sacrificing laughs for experimentation - but when he wants to be, Munnery is as funny as it gets – and all the more so for not taking the obvious route.

He’s adopted various guises over the years – the Security Guard, Alan Parker Urban Warrior, The League Against Tedium; all defined by a fierce intelligence, uncompromising attitude, and ability to perfectly phrase brilliantly original ideas.

As the humourless guard, he deadpans dry one-liners much smarter than they seem; as the aimless, angry anarchist he subtly subverts adolescent rebellion by proclaiming he wants to smash the system and replace it, vaguely with ‘something better’; while the League of Tedium is a unsettling, contemptuous madman, deluded about his omnipotent authority and the barking the deranged orders and meaningless slogans of the despot.

While all these characters still make appearances from time to time, he is nowadays most often to be found performing as himself, abandoning those various masks and talking about his real life and new-found fatherhood.

This is looser than his earlier work, but still notable for the vivid descriptions and Mensa-smart punchlines that pepper his anecdotes. He may, too, perform one of his poems – with or without harmonica accompaniment – that make perfect use of his beat-perfect delivery.

Munnery makes good use of the rhythms of comedy, but more importantly he can muster an impressive stage presence. Whether it’s Parker’s expert rhetoric holding the audience in rapt attention at every turn, or the ominous but ridiculous League exercising his monstrous ego, the performance adds strength to already great material.

He’s formed his own niche market on the circuit now, performing only where he wants – which often means festivals or special nights where his unique brand of comedy is most likely to be welcome. Any serious fan of comedy should know his work.

Review date: 12 Feb 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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