Ismo Leikola: Observing The Obvious | Review by Steve Bennett
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Ismo Leikola: Observing The Obvious

Note: This review is from 2015

Review by Steve Bennett

‘The funniest person in the world’ is quite the title; but even if Ismo Leikola can’t live up to the accolade bestowed on him at an International Stand-Up competition last year; this cuddly shaggy-haired Finn has plenty going for him.

Back in Edinburgh eight years after his Fringe debut, he plays up the bewildered ‘foreigner abroad’ shtick beautifully, acting befuddled by our British peculiarities – not least with the language, full of such oddities and contradictions. But we are so familiar with them, it takes an outsider to point them out. There are advantages to performing comedy in your second language. Another is the wonderfully pleasing way the word ‘bulb’ comes out of his mouth…

Some of the starting points are obvious – such as our silent letters, or using pounds to measure both currency and for weight – but many are not. And despite the title of his show, Leikola is rarely straightforward, using the assumed naivety his accent bestows allows him to take the audience on peculiar trains of thought.

Exposing logical consistencies is his stock-in-trade, but in a bumbling, charming way, not with incisive satire. He makes little direct attempt to make a connection with the audience, sticking to his prepared speech of off-kilter observations and quirky jokes, yet charms with his amiable contentment. Even as he talks, he gently bobs up and down in genial happiness.

There are a few lapses, such as the stock putdown to the ‘I’ve fucked your mum’ heckle, and comments about the myriad of potions and lotions women bring to the bathroom, or the smart-arse childhood reaction to being told to finish your food as there are ‘children starving in Africa’, are witty, but hardly ground-breaking.

However, there’s plenty of his witty nuggets will get stuck in your brain, ready to be released next time you encounter an earthworm or a squirrel, the subject of two of his more delightful observations.

Review date: 11 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

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