Joe Wilkinson – Original Review | Review by Steve Bennett

Joe Wilkinson – Original Review

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Joe Wilkinson certainly projects himself as a strange old cove, shuffling on stage with little self-assurance emanating from behind that thick, scraggly beard that immediately tags him as an awkward outsider. His sluggish opening hardly inspires confidence, either, as he meekly apologises for his shortcomings – such as a critical lack of material.

It’s the sort of deconstruction that delights the comics in the back of the room, but gets a more muted response from the audience, not yet sure if this is fashionable irony or whether this stranger really is rubbish.

Thankfully, he’s not – this is just a game to lower expectations, and once he acknowledges his first proper joke, we’re off. His whole set runs with this ironic commentary on his own performance and the conventions of stand-up, which provides him with a second bite at a laugh if the actual material struggles.

Much of it needs no such support, though, as his playfully silly whimsy- such as his ancestor’s invention of toffee apples - offers a decent share of quirky laughs. It’s not all as strong, with his bridesmaid-shagging dilemma going down the route you might expect, but even so, his low-energy charm carries it through.

The apathetic deadpan style is a tricky one to pull off, too often forming an insurmountable barrier between a comedian and his audience; but for the most part Wilkinson seems to pull it off, being uninterested but not uninteresting. Not all the material is up to a comparable level, but this relative newcomer has that all-important comic stance nailed.

Review date: 18 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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