Comedy of the Year
- Brian Donaldson
- 11 December 2008
In the past 12 months, America was at long last able to give itself a good hard slap on the back. Not only did they dispense with Bush and give McCain the elbow, they allowed some of their finest comic minds to invade these shores in a non-violent, genuinely hilarious manner. Chris Rock showed us just why he is the king of comedy with a visceral set about racial politics while raising the bar on gender comedy and Doug Stanhope popped our way briefly to show why he still has Bill Hicks’ celestial ear. During the Edinburgh Fringe, the US could be proud of citizens such as John Pinette, the big guy with the massive talent, physical double act Pajama Men, kooky old Kristen Schaal who in tandem with Kurt Braunohler nabbed an if.comedy nomination while pick of the summer bunch was Louis CK and his superbly brittle musings about his nation, his gender and his age.
The Fringe also featured some excellent avant-gardists with The Meeting having us pray for that site-specific show going into overtime, Joke-oke making stand-up stars of the audience and JL Roberts and Nadia Kamil bamboozling us all with their Wisecrackin’, Mindsqueezin’ Behemoth. The best of the ‘summer’ character acts were Joanna Neary and Adam Riches (who truly suffered for his art by smashing up his leg onstage but continuing his August, em, run with the aid of a chair) while some strong sketch shows arrived from Lady Garden, Idiots of Ants, WitTank and Pros from Dover.
But loudest cheer of 2008 went to the splendid David O’Doherty who capped a fine year by winning the big prize in August for his latest organ-friendly sit-down extravaganza, Let’s Comedy. And we only hope that everyone does just that in 2009.