Jeff Green: Crazy From The Heat

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Maybe it’s because it sounds strange in his Cheshire accent, but Jeff Green seems over-eager to endear himself to the Australian audience with local references. Having lived in Melbourne for little over a year, he namechecks more suburbs than the Yarra Trams timetable, and never just goes to a cinema when he can go to ‘Cinema Como, just down the road…’

But behind all this localisation, his material is as universal and accessible as it comes; about the compromise of relationships, about cosseted kids, about going on holiday in a cramped caravan. Often, too, the comedy is mild, nothing too unexpected to dent that broad ‘relatability’ and as a consequence a little dull, no matter how skilfully delivered with the relaxed confidence only two decades on stage can bring.

But he can pull some stronger material out of the bag, too: his topical take on the refugee centre at Christmas Island showed an ironic wit, while his reminiscences of teenage fumbles in his mother’s tiny car built impressively on his cheeky likeability. As is so often the case, what was personal to him plays better than the generic, with a yarn about his distant father’s run-in with a camping gas cylinder proving lovely in its slapstick.

The Monday-night audience prove sluggish, and little of Green’s material truly engages them; but he’s tenacious and ploughs through routine after routine, happy to get laughs where he can, but ignoring the extended calmer periods, too.

His finale actually proves one of the bigger lulls, as he reads from his book The A-Z Of Relationships, containing such insights as, erm, men leave toilet seats up when women like them down. When he starts with A, then B it looks as if it will be a long night, though thankfully he starts skipping sections until he gets to ‘vaginal flatulence’, a bit of below-the-belt ‘blue’ though delivered with typical charm, to partially rescue a listless evening of patchy stand-up that plays it too safe, too often.

Review date: 7 Apr 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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