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Brighton Fringe: Mike Sheer: Undergod

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Canadian Mike Sheer says his show is about ‘God, death and genitals’, which is pretty much the unholy trinity of all stand-up. otherwise dissipated Unusually for a modern comic, he doesn’t want to bang the atheist gong on the question of a supreme being which underpins this show, although he’s not especially convinced there is one, either. He’s read about the argument from poor design – or dysteleology – which is one tool apparently disproving God because his creations are so flawed. Sheer is very happy to learn about this, as it means he can crowbar his knob and vagina gags into this apparently academic argument.

If you’re coming for theological debate, you are clearly in the wrong show. But Sheer doesn’t fight shy of raising big ideas, even if they are ultimately only vessels for stand-up routines that might otherwise have no common thread.

And he’s pretty good at his job, with some smart, and not-so-smart, gags written with elegant efficiency and delivered with a punchy style. There are a few real gems in here, from a particularly pity one-liner summing up his stereotypical Jewish character to a disgustingly beautiful analogy for gay sex that will stick in the mind – whether you want it to or not.

Sheer waltzes around the potentially contentious with a self-effacing charm, and while he is a comedian with a clear and distinctive point of view to impart, he is also always driving towards the next joke, very much in the North American tradition.

That means the parts of this work-in-progress show where the punchlines don’t flow freely are particularly noticeable, yet these moments –- normally when he gets bogged down in theory – remain hiccups between the passages of wit and twisted insight which define the show. Also, he’s astute enough to know where the lulls lie, and comes across as the just sort of comic who will work diligently to fix them.

Sheer is a talented act with bags of potential, definitely worth a punt despite his relative lack of profile in the UK – an injustice that could well be rectified before too long.

Review date: 23 May 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton Caroline of Brunswick

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