Glenn Wool: Wool's Gold II (The Iron Pirate)
- Jay Richardson
- 18 February 2019
A greatest hits package that evokes shock and awe
A significant element of Glenn Wool's appeal has always been his roguish traveller's tales. So if this is to be his final UK show before the new father relocates back to Canada, we can optimistically presume he'll return before too long. He's already taking an impish view of being an older dad with a younger partner, hilariously rewriting history to suit his own nefarious ends.
A pitfall of delivering a career greatest hits show though, is that the chronology and relationships become a little haphazard: an ex-wife here, a fiancée there, hypothetical abused children, now expecting a kid. It scarcely matters, as Wool delights in tweaking audience expectations and subverting conventional thought. His rapidly shifting personal circumstances are simply a further garden path for him to lead you up.
Besides, some of his recurring themes, such as the over-sensitive taking offence from comedy, never really change. Rather than going for the easy target of snowflake millennials, he sets his sights on ostensibly unshockable heavy metal fans, and even himself for his entitled prudishness in Japan. That's not to say he doesn't take risks: his subject matter includes paedophilia, rape, bestiality, the Holocaust and nuclear genocide. But the higher the stakes, the greater the release of laughter. Wool manages to have his cake and eat it by playfully evoking the most shocking phenomenon, then intelligently arguing for it to be acknowledged as relatable human weakness, his satiric intent and often brutal logic just about matching his mischievousness.
There are few comics who pay quite so much attention to their delivery too, with the Canadian flitting between intimate friendliness, raised eyebrow incredulity and dramatic grandstanding. Emphasising, rather than artificially bolstering his writing, it reinforces the impression that these are classic routines, worth dusting off once again when so many of his contemporaries' bits just wouldn't deserve a reprise.
Glenn Wool: Wool's Gold II (The Iron Pirate) is on tour until Sunday 28 April. Seen at The Stand, Glasgow.