A while back I forked out $80 for a ticket to see Lenny Henry live. The show was on Thursday. Usually when there’s such an interval, it feels like a show you got to see for free.
I went to see his previous show So Much Things to Say and found it disappointing. That show suffered from being a bit to earnest in its political commentary. Billed and reviewed as a riotously funny stand up show, I felt mislead.
The reason that I paid such a lot for a performer that had been previously disappointing, was his 1989 show, which was awesome.
To be fair, he didn’t repeat the same failing in this show. What this show suffered was a feeling of being disjointed and cobbled-together. I realize standup is not usually too structured, or even necessarily coherent. But the best stuff flows from one thing to another. It feels from the heart, and it feels authentic. The absolute best stuff feels like a guy telling you funny shit he’s making up on the fly.
This was none of that. There were entertaining moments, but basically it felt shallow and glib. It was very disjointed, chopping and changing all over the place, and it felt remote from anything anyone actually experiences.
So, it was very disappointing. I laughed, and was entertained, but even during the show, I couldn’t help thinking back to the $35 I paid to see Ed Byrne for a hundred times the laughs.
The other side-effect was to make me ponder whether i should have bought tickets to Bill Bailey. But those were even more expensive, and for a comic that has less accumulated good will in my heart.