Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gig Review: Jimeoin – What?! – at the Wellington Opera House, Wellington, May 19 2013

Stand up comedy might just about be the toughest gig in all of show business. If not the toughest, then certainly the most unforgiving. Up there on stage in front of hundreds of people expecting to be entertained by little more than what comes out of your mouth. No chance of a last minute edit before it goes “live”, and no chance to run and hide should things go a little awry.

But the experienced Melbourne-based Irish comedian Jimeoin has seen it all before, and he turned up at the Wellington Opera House last Sunday with his best game face on, delivering an hour-long set that, due to its brevity, only left many of those in attendance desperately wanting more.

I get that it was a comedy festival gig, which are by their very nature notoriously short, but I had expected a little more. Having seen Eddie Izzard captivate a similarly sized audience for a much longer spell at the same venue a few years back, I had hoped that Jimeoin’s set might stretch to around 90 minutes, or at the very least include an encore. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
Jimeoin is an engaging character with loads of charisma, but perhaps his best asset is that “lived in” face. So much of his humour is supplemented by a look, a sly glance, a knowing grin, a frown, or that moment where he tilts his head back slightly and sniggers, as though the joke is somehow on the audience itself.

There’s physical comedy (the gig kicks off with our man arriving on stage dancing to some retro-chic disco, which is a bit like watching your boss at the annual Christmas party), loads of observational humour about everyday little things, jokes about (not telling) jokes, a lot of self deprecation, with morsels of localised content thrown in every so often – the now almost obligatory mention of Lord Of The Rings is becoming a little tiresome, truth be told (it reeks of someone straining for local material and opting for the most obvious reference point).

The undoubted highlight was the section of the show near the end where Jimeoin dons the guitar and offers some light musical relief. Not so much a set of “songs”, rather, snippets of half-formed songs, or more accurately, a series of short quips about songs. There’s some audience participation at this point, and there’s no question that by the conclusion Jimeoin has offered more than enough to win the audience over.

So while it was some way short of the best comedy show I’ve seen, and certainly one of the shortest (he could have perhaps done with a local up-and-comer warming us up for 15 minutes or so), there is no question that Jimeoin is a very funny guy, and yep, I’ll definitely look for another chance to see him again.



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