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Lewis Schaffer Is Free Until Famous In a Smaller Room at an Earlier Time

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Dave Hampson

In a tiny Free Festival room, holding 40 uncomfortably in stifling heat. Schaffer acts as ticket collector, steward and sound technician, shaking the hands of every audience member on their way in, exuding sincerity and engendering a community spirit. There were a couple of tricky customers on the front row but these were dealt with masterfully, being included in his act at every opportunity.

His material starts with a bang with remarks on how no one likes a mildly racist comedian. The racists don’t find it strong enough and liberals hate it for the opposite reason. He used two Taiwanese punters to help illustrate that by constantly, deliberately referring to them as Chinese and wilfully pushing the buttons.

The meat of the set was more in line with the title of the show. There were funny bits in this 30-minute diatribe about how the famous get preferential treatment over him, the lowly grinder of mirth, but the sentiment, by his own admission, led to dips in the humour.

We were, however, treated to a wonderfully conceited finale involving a Holocaust joke. This could be, in lesser hands, extremely dodgy ground, but the composure and skill used in reaching the punchline was remarkable.

Lewis Schaffer, by his own immodesty, is too good to be playing small rooms. He is a skilled, masterful and above all eye-wateringly funny guy. If you consciously choose not to see him, don’t bother coming to the Fringe.

Review date: 16 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Dave Hampson

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