David Trent: Live At The Pleasance Courtyard | Review by Steve Bennett
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David Trent: Live At The Pleasance Courtyard

Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Steve Bennett

In many ways, what David Trent does is a staple of cheapish TV comedy – showing us pop culture clips and taking the piss out of them… but his meticulous deconstruction and righteous exasperation makes him a master of the genre.

So even though it’s not news that Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is morally horrendous; the way Trent picks it apart with forensic rigour finds rich comedy in the smallest detail, with freeze-frames and the briefest of extracts helping him to focus on the particulars, resulting in a comprehensive takedown. He also makes sure he holds to account Thicke’s accomplices Pharrell Williams and T.I. The latter might not be so well known, but Trent rips his talents as a hype man apart like a chef with a fish-gutting knife.

Trent’s an ex-schoolteacher, and there’s an element of his former job in the way he presents his thoughts, leaving no room for arguments and illustrating by examples, played out on the twin screens beside him. Funny how two projectors give much more sense of occasion than one – perhaps we are conditioned by arena gigs to equate this set-up with spectacle. Coming on to pounding rock and an A-bomb explosion helps too.

More modest than that rock-star opening might suggest, Trent is relentless in his withering wit, simply helping his targets implicate themselves. Michael Gove’s attempt to show how tuned-in to modern youth he is by claiming to like rap music –  then citing the lyrics to Wham Rap – is instantly hilarious but making it a running joke makes a bonfire of the Chief Whip’s credibility.

A similar approach is applied to Nick Griffin’s online cookery show – which sounds like the idea of a workaday sketch group but actually exists in the real world – and highlights the bizarro world of those with no sense of how they might be perceived.

There’s a political edge beyond mocking the personalities, though, with comments on the likes of overarching NSA surveillance – while even his cornerstone routines on pop culture highlight how the trivial is given more weight in the world than the important. It only everyone had Trent’s finely-tuned antenna for bullshit, and eloquence in calling it, we’d all be better off.

Review date: 24 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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