Jamie Kilstein: Revenge Of The Serfs

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Jamie Kilstein has opinions. A lot of opinions. So many, he can barely get them out, jabbering away as if stuck on fast-forward, getting so excited by the passion and intensity of his own ideas he jiggles on the spot like a six-year-old desperate for a pee.

Among the dense dissertation are some smart, witty jokes… though his full-on delivery doesn’t give them much room to breathe. Rather than laugh, you need your full concentration to take in the cascade of words gushing violently from his mouth like an Icelandic volcano. You must wait to the end of each burst of activity to applaud the craftsmanship, rather than go with the flow. This is not a conversation, but a sermon – and should you need any further evidence, he’s made his own list of commandments.

The bulk of the show is concerned with what you might expect to be on the mind of an angry young liberal iconoclast. To say the religious right from his US homeland come in for something of a tongue-lashing comes as no surprise as some of their more outrageous teachings, such as getting het up about the evils of, erm, hugging seem almost designed to provide material for level-headed comics everywhere.

Hackles risen, he rails incisively at hypocrisy, at warmongers, at sexists, at Hummer drivers – dropping in the odd American reference that got lost somewhere over the Pacific, but always with verve.

Then his moralising machine-guns fall silent; and he refocuses his attention on himself, and how he acted like a petulant jerk when a teenager. He’s hit by the sudden realisation that the father he rebelled against was actually the good guy, and details his clumsy attempts at reconciliation. Thankfully there’s no touchy-feely all-hugs ending – they are the devil’s work after all – but just an awkward, unspoken truce. It’s a thoughtful segment, giving some context to the rage.

Kilstein’s angry, self-certain irritability hasn’t gone away, but is now aimed at father-substitutes of the Establishment. He might be overly-righteous, even sanctimonious, with convictions verging on the arrogant. But the passion is appealing, and the point of view always provocative. In the end, the only sane reaction to the outrageous ideas his highlights is to laugh.

Review date: 18 Apr 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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