Sumit Anand: Nothing About Godzilla | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Sumit Anand: Nothing About Godzilla

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Facing an audience of three has to be dispiriting for any comedian, but it’s even worse for the audience. And at this show, Sumit Anand’s reaction only made an awkward situation even more awkward.

For although he largely ploughed on with his set regardless, he couldn’t help but repeatedly draw attention to the few of us who were there in the front row, commenting with irritation disguised as bantz that we weren’t laughing, or even sitting, in the way that he would like. Thus we're made even more self-conscious and even less likely to enjoy the awkward experience – even when influx of latecomers tripled what we could ironically call the ‘crowd’ to dilute his attention.

With ten years in the business in his native India he should probably know better. And it’s a shame he made it such an uncomfortable situation, for he explores some promisingly quirky premises in his debut Edinburgh hour.

His is definitely a mind that works at an angle to the world, seeing things from unusual perspectives. He’s a man whose favourite mode of transport is a lift, and who has a trademark routine highlighting the absurd way we process the intangible concept of time. Not exactly hack stuff, though some is more accessible, such as his compulsion to shut off the microwave before it pings.

Anand doesn’t always offer the audience an easy way into the more abstract thoughts, getting ahead of himself before laying the groundwork. That’s even true of relatively straightforward stories, too, such as the funeral he attended as a child. He has a habit of obscuring a crucial piece of information that would add to the clarity.

However, the longer anecdotes are the most rewarding. His guilt at getting food delivered to his door is well-realised in one eccentric tale, while the one in which he deliberately rams another car just to see what will happen incorporates some good punchlines in the mental image he conjures up, even if his motivation for causing the crash will forever be shrouded in mystery, despite his best efforts to explain himself.
 
That he’s hard to read is a key part of Anand’s persona, although it can also be alienating. However, once you get on to his wavelength, his originality can be properly appreciated as the sort of off-kilter thinking that generates the best jokes. But despite being pretty well-established on India’s admittedly still-nascent comedy scene, this needs polish.

Review date: 12 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

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