6 August 2007

Simon Amstell - No Self

It is rare that I agree with Kate Copstick, lead arts critic for the tabloid newspaper The Scotsman. She has been right on Phil Nichol and Demtri Martin amongst others but she inevitably give big name comics, i.e. those on TV, good reviews no matter how they actually perform. This is one of those times. Host of Never Mind The Buzzcocks Simon Amstell comes out with a big reputation to justify. The audience is packed full of about 450 people and a large number of which are laughing at *everything* he says because he is on TV (believe me, what he is saying is not funny). So he gives some girl in the front row cancer and a man AIDS by his magic powers and goes on to try to get laughs out of the idea of clown rape (that's rape by a clown) and surprise surprise he fails. When he finished talking about splitting up with his boyfriend,a section that came across as quite lazy, the moves into a brief middle section where he talks about boycotting things and trying to do the right thing. This all is supposedly linked to the idea that 'self' is the same as 'ego', we are all in fact one living entity. Anyway his final third, supposedly his strongest material, is about trying to end with some laughs about half-being involved in the Tsunami. After that he prepares to wrap things up by switching to a brief talk about pictures taken during 9/11. He then calls back to a weak and obvious, if not cheap as well, joke he did at the beginning of the show and I swear on my life a few people let out a mild giggle and that was it. Everyone could see that weak callback coming but then out of nowhere he says that was his big finish and he expected a much bigger laugh!

This is where Kate Copstick comes in. Rather than giving Simon a poor review for weak material and an ending that bombed spectacularly (when he left the stage he ran off to about four seconds of applause and then the clapping stopped dead), Kate somehow thinks he is some form of visionary and has giving him four stars! The mind boggles! To add further salt to the wound, Kate closes her review with "This goes against all my beliefs about comedy, but I think he doesn't need a better ending, he needs a better audience. I hope I haven't alienated anyone". You must be joking! Your review came out today meaning you either saw him on Saturday or on Sunday with me. The first third of the show was carried by the people who have paid to see him because they recognise him off TV and laughed at everything he said, even joking about give a poor guy in the front row AIDS for real! The middle part was passable at best and his final third was weak limping along to arguably the single *worst* ending to any comedy show I have ever seen! Even Brendon Burns asking a woman to kick him in the nuts in Jongleurs was better than this! Yes you have alienated nearly 500 people by saying they don't know comedy and you have some form of mystic power of judging comics, somehow related to their mainstream TV appearances. The only thing worse than Simon Amstell's two star (and very best) show is the disgraceful way Kate Copstick ended her review insulting every audience member except herself. Avoid them both at all costs! [BTW the current rating on edfringe.com is 2.75 out of 5 with 31 votes in and it seems during the preview shows he has admitted to the audience his performance have been rubbish!]