The world is too insane right now to claim the traditional gods are dead but our modern culture has definitely found a few new idols to worship. Dane Baptiste has identified a few of them in his new religiously charged and often insightful show, and while it's not a total success it remains a thought-provoking hour of comedy littered with sharp observations and belly laugh provoking one-liners.
He’s not a great Dane yet but certainly Dane and able.
Gold. Oil. Drugs. is the title of the show and it reflects the order in which Baptiste tackles his subjects. The comedian is strongest dealing with the first of his three topics, gold – or more precisely money. Here there is a depth to the material as he focuses tightly to the theme of filthy lucre, finding his way through a hilarious retort to the TLC hit No Scrubs and a fantastically crude effort toward humanising the Queen.
During latter sections the focus slips and both the oil and drugs elements of the set become gateways to explore a more diverse range of topics, from technology to racism. As the association between theme and material gets looser so the success rate of the jokes takes a dip. Build-ups start to feel overlong and punch lines do not hit home with the same level of frequency.
That's not to say the show will have you checking your watch and hanging on until the end. Baptiste is a charismatic performer and a talented comedian. It's a pleasure to spend some time in his company and even when one of his jokes doesn't hit the mark, the set is so packed with gags that you can be confident a funny line is never far away.
Although Baptiste's call to worship isn't quite enough to shake this atheist’s lack of faith it remains an enjoyable show and speaks to his potential as a rising star of comedy; he’s not a great Dane yet but certainly Dane and able. With a bit more refinement who knows? He may make a believer of me yet.