James Mason – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Every comic is inspired by those who’ve gone before them, but James Mason’s debt to Stewart Lee is just so ingrained in everything he says, and the way he says it, that it’s hard to escape the feeling that you’re simply watching a cut-price cover version.

Utterly deadpan, dry and world-weary, sneery sarcasm seeps from every pregnant pause or over-emphasised repetition as he deconstructs his subjects. He treats the audience collectively as if it were a retarded seven-year-old, stupid for not seeing the world as the miserable place he does.

He stubbornly refuses to show any enthusiasm for anything, just as any good moody indie kid shouldn’t, and he can sometimes rely on this defiant stance more than the quality writing to see him through. But there is plenty of humour in the sort of contemptuous nihilism Mason deals in, and he is adept at extracting laughs from his uncompromisingly derisory opinions. However at other times, when the comedy is deliberately laboured, it can be more painful to watch.

But crucially this newcomer desperately needs to find his own voice even within the moody deadpan genre, rather than simply appropriating someone else’s persona, hook, line and sinker.

Review date: 27 Nov 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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Today's comedy-on demand picks


The virtual events that are trying to fill the Edinburgh Fringe void kick up a gear tonight with the first Fringe Friday gala gig, hosted by Suzi Ruffell, Jason Byrne doing a gig from his Irish home town, and the Free Festival co-ordinating a busy on-line line-up

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... including a new YouTube sketch series from comedy ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and Graeme Garden in conversation.

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