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Glenn Wool: No Lands' Man

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s possibly the biggest topic in comedy: having a digit shoved up your anus. Between diagnostic medicine, sexual experimentation and – in Glenn Wool’s case – overzealous border guards, it’s hard to keep track of how many male stand-ups have found themselves in this predicament.

But finding himself butt-naked in an tiny room in an Indonesian airport, an occupational hazard when you resemble a member of a ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band’, Wool was not humiliated, but smug, as, in the very moment the official snapped his glove into place, happy memory flickered across his mind. For the purposes of this triumphant UK comeback, Wool puts up a few suggestions of what fond recollection could have hit him at that moment.

Yes, as a framing device it’s hardly the most elegant, but when you’ve got an arsenal of road stories as devastatingly hilarious as these, to hell with structure. These are the highlights from the two years since he was last here, when he left in a bid to crack America. But he also got around the globe quite a bit in the intervening months.

Of course, being a comedian grants certain perks, like getting a stage pass to an Iron Maiden concert or – surely equally as awesome – a VIP after-hours admissions to the Napier aquarium in New Zealand.

Wool is a superlative storyteller; and lest you think that means a quietly whimsical geek speaking quietly of romanticised yarns, think again. Wool is a big, forthright, Canadian bear of a man with the sort of bold yarns that could be barked out after a gallon of beer in an isolated bikers’ pub. But, to counter that, they are told with a subversive playfulness, a winning dollop of self-deprecation and goggle-eyed incredulity. With his rock-and-roll charisma exerting perfect control, and perfect sense of comic phrasing in his yarns, Wool has a potent combination.

Much of the material is, as he happily admits, the sort of stuff that’s kept him off the Michael McIntyre roadshow. But although the content can be strong, it’s also way more nuanced than just heading for the worst. The only thing that doesn’t quite work out is him pondering whether to help semi-aquatic rodents in trouble, though it did open the door for more gruesomely memorable images from the animal world.

Away from the core yarns, Wool has some strong gags on American stereotyping, Osama Bin Laden, ‘appropriate vagina euphemisms’ and, with hilarious stupidity, his ad-hoc attempt to make up a language.

All in all, No Lands’ Man goes to cement Wool’s reputation as one of the premiership players on the world comedy stage. Even if he never did crack America, Hollywood’s loss is our gain.

Review date: 15 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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