Where You From?

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.

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2 Responses to Where You From?

  1. cha0sslave says:

    I’ve only see one live comedy show, at the Grek Church hall across from where I lived in Pirie St. It costs me $30, there were Aussie 5 guys who took turns and it lasted for just over an hour. I’d never spend more than $50 for a comedian no matter who it was and $80 is just a ripoff.

    Tickets to something like Cats or Phantom of the Opera are priced similarly and there’s a huge squad of people and detailed costumes and sets for that sort of thing. Out of that $80 he probably got $60 of each ticket to himself which is ludicrous money when you think about it. Especially when the only sets they have are a chair and a drink, maybe a backdrop or two.

    If you look around you can find a decent DVD to rent of almost any comedian, and for $30 or less you can buy entire shows on DVD and watch them over and over, plus you don’t get any interference from other people being too noisy and theres no chance of your view being obstructed either. Even Henry is in the video stores. I find a good chunk of any live show is often reworked stuff from earlier other shows and standard set pieces that they hope you haven’t heard before.

    It’s not like a live band where they say there’s a better atmosphere and all that, humour is a brain effect and will be pretty much the same if you see it live or watch it on DVD. Bill Bailey would have been worth it and Ed Byrne is funny as hell but I hate his new image, the short hair and tidyness completely ruins him. Was better when he was a long haired lout in a tenchcoat.

  2. rruthlessly says:

    My expectations were much lower and we got free tickets so I didn’t feel disappointed with Lenny Henry. Some of his stuff was very old, some didn’t click with me and some of the taped stuff I thought he should have cut. On the other hand he was on stage for a good length of time, his acting was brilliant, I’m still hassling D that he’s expecting a blizzard and I laughed more than enough to satisfy. We also have tickets to Bill Bailey (although we did pay for those).

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