Jeff Caldwell – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

New Yorker Jeff Caldwell has a slick approach that instils confidence in his abilities, even if his measured, sardonic delivery struggles to upgrade that feeling into much enthusiasm.

It comes as no surprise when he reveals he studied an engineering degree, for he has that assured, white-collar air of someone who was always going to be a professional at something.

Speaking of his background, the routines have clearly been well-engineered, too; there’s a feeling that every pause has been timed to the millisecond, every inflection the result of exhaustive testing. The result is not hugely exciting, but it does work.

Only the writing is not so ruthlessly efficient. Not only are there are some routines that work and some that don’t, but even on the good material there are redundant taglines and digressions that produce very little fruit from the labour that’s obviously been lavished on them.

He has enough good material to be worth checking out – impressive lines about the advertising boasts of Beck’s beer, or the oddities of New York’s subway system stand out – but also a fair proportion of more pedestrian if well-told material (American eating habits, working on cruise liners) that are likely to prevent him from being a cast-iron favourite.

That’s, perhaps, the payoff for putting dependability above inspiration – and dependable is very much the watchword here

Review date: 4 Jun 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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