Amongst the general hubbub as the audience left the show, the snippets I overheard were ‘That was hilarious’, ‘I can’t believe he said that’, and simply ‘WtTF’. This show appalled, offended and confused me, but also somehow gave me plenty of laughs. Furthermore, no show this year has lingered in my mind to the extent that this has.
Brendon Burns is obviously highly intelligent and savvy, creating this odd self-parodying, self-defeating show based on the fact that he has never become a household name. During the show he lists the five reasons for this. However, rather than being a simple list-based show it becomes apparent that there is much more to the concept: the show both exposes and reinforces every point throughout in smart and creative ways. By the end we realise that the show was not at all what we had been led to believe throughout: it is a carefully constructed piece that shocks as much as it awes.
This is not a show for those who are looking for a laugh-a-minute. Don’t get me wrong - there are hilarious moments, as well as moments when the audience explodes with guilt-ridden laughter, shocked at themselves for finding the joke funny. However, despite the offence that he deliberately causes, he is not the type to purposefully offend individuals - in fact the opposite is true. His seemingly effortless audience ‘banter’ feels genuine and lulls the audience into a false sense of security, believing that he is being honest and natural with us.
Whether or not you enjoy the show, it is impossible not to be affected by it in some way. It is more than a harsh commentary on Burns himself. It forces you to confront what the boundaries of comedy are and where the line is between funny and offensive. It is smart, it is uncomfortable and it is altogether bewildering. Go see this show. Then see it again. You’ll know what I mean.