Lindsay Webb: Pundamonium

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Early in Lindsay Webb’s show, a man gingerly puts his hand up. ‘Excuse my ignorance,’ he asked politely. ‘But I don’t even know what a pun is.’ After the first 20 minutes of Webb’s quick-thinking wordplay, I think he would have a pretty good idea.

However, this is not quite the tirade of one-liners you might expect. Webb doesn’t batter you into submission, like some pun-toting comics, but drops them into his light banter.

He is an endearing, jovial presence, keeping proceedings ticking along and the energy up. The first half is a mixture of loose, good-natured audience badinage going little beyond the usual niceties of ‘what’s your name?’, ‘what do you do for a living?’ – but just enough to prompt a small cascade of puns on every job mentioned. Told you he was quick.

But Webb slows the show down by mounting a defence of the gags so often derided as ‘dad jokes’ and describing how they have become part of the fabric of communication, right down to the headline after the Queensland floods: Brisbane flooded, Spirits not dampened. This seemed like part of the show, beyond the brief explanation he offered to the pun-unaware (punaware?) audience member from the beginning, but rather ineffective. Webb would benefit from more practice and less theory. As he acknowledges, puns have a cumulative effect, and are more effective when they keep coming, so why give the audience let-up?

On the other hand a full hour of cheesy puns is a feat only few can pull off, which is perhaps why the wordplay is shelved for the second half in favour of a more traditional extended stand-up routine, largely about being a father. The material about poop and nappy-changing is familiar stuff, thought the story of his wife’s second pregnancy is more unusual, and carried by Webb’s approachable charm.

It’s not a great hour, but a resolutely likeable one. And despite Webb’s affirmations that we should reclaim the pun as a noble comic device, it pains me to conclude his show might be worth a pun-t.

Reviewed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, April 2011

Review date: 9 Jan 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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