Anthony Jeselnik at the Carlsberg Comedy Carnival 2010

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

This is Anthony Jeselnik’s Irish debut, and he’s milking it for all it’s worth, prefacing almost every joke with: ‘Do you guys have X-Box here?’ ‘Do you guys have Blind Date here?’ ‘Do you guys have marijuana?’ It’s clearly intended as a little in-joke, but like so much of his set, the monotonous repetition has a deadening effect.

Every gag has the same rhythm and the same flat delivery. He even stands in the exact-same way, his left arm behind his back, occasionally coming forward to touch his philtrum with his fist on the punchline. The gags are presented with no conversational thread either; it’s a case of ‘here’s a joke’; ‘here’s another joke’; ‘here’s another joke’.

Not only is the deadpan tone of the delivery unchanging, so too is the tones of the gags, each being a mildly bad-taste punchline, not exactly politically correct, but not strong enough to cause a genuine frisson of shock. To be fair, a decent handful of these are good gags, but in the context of so many similar-but-weaker ones, the effect is seriously diminished.

His persona is that he’s one mean-spirited, self-centred S.O.B., but there’s no real venom, leading to the inescapable feeling that every mention of Aids or suicides or retards is just cynically gratuitous.

You can also tell from the topics listed in the first paragraph, that even though Jeselnik is 31 years old, he has the sensibilities of a stereotypical student layabout: Fine, perhaps for the lucrative US college circuit which provides one of the few routes to actually earn money from stand-up in the States, but rather unambitious for grown-ups, who might find his set rather dull.

Review date: 25 Jul 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Dublin Iveagh Gardens

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