Jonny Pelham’s cynical and self-deprecating humour gleams with a relatable anxiety. He touches on feelings that we all have: feelings of fear, of self-doubt, of questionable morals. However, his comedy does little to quell those feelings and may do less to help you cope and more to help you dwell.
Without a common thread or any sort of unifying narrative, truly funny jokes fall flat as the audience struggles to follow Jonny from topic to topic, despite the fact that the content is unique and amusing. It is the delivery and organisation that leaves something to be desired. Timing is sometimes off, banter with the audience takes the form of strange looks and confusion, and he teeters on the line between humorous self-deprecation and sympathy-inducing cringe.
At times, the show drags on, like when Jonny lists the inappropriate times he experienced erections as a child. Other times, he taps into funny topics and then abandons them. He leaves the full scenario of what it would be like to have a refugee flatmate unexplored, the suggestion of privileged hippies underdeveloped.
It is clear that Jonny walks through life like a comedian: he sees things in a unique way, makes the important connections and is prepared to unleash those observations in a diverse retinue to amuse and enlighten. But in Jonny Pelham: Just Shout Louder, he doesn’t manage to strike the style or the structure to be consistently engaging.
Words: Emily Hall
Jonny Pelham: Just Shout Louder, Gilded Balloon Teviot, Aug 12-27, 7.45pm