David Trent has labelled each of his possessions: ‘This is a screen’, ‘This is a laptop’, ‘This is a projector’, etc., making This Is All I Have an ironic comment on our technological age of abundance. Excessive amounts of information are derived from each item for the simple purpose of making us laugh.
This is a show that has tried to bring stand-up comedy into the twenty-first century and it has succeeded. With images, clips, slides, great musical interludes, faux phone and Skype conversations, Photoshop antics, and an experimental Google Glass adventure, these gadgets and effects decorate Trent’s stand-up, sometimes illustrating his points, sometimes hilariously ‘slipping up’ and contradicting the comedian mid-flow (as when Trent tries to type his name into the Google search bar and is met with disappointing consequences).
What makes Trent’s material zing is that it makes a certain delight communal, a delight which all of us have experienced: of going online and seeking out or indeed stumbling across stupid things that people have done and said in the form of comment boxes, videos and pop songs. Stand-up comedian David Trent, during times of marital, familial and financial stress, has done a lot of what we all do in similar times: he has scoured the internet. The result is that Trent is fully equipped in sharing with us some gems of truly ridiculous information, and he is more than capable of analysing them in ways socio-political, witty, inventive, and just downright silly.
The impression one is left with of the glorious age of technology we inhabit is that its greatest asset is access to astonishingly silly information – and in no small amount. Covering dubious toilet paper campaigns, the dangers of irresponsible product branding, the nonsensical lyrics of certain South African pop bands, to name but a few; the show is packed with virtual examples of humanity at its finest.
Yet, despite all the gadgets and effects, Trent most excelled when directly interacting with the audience, appearing to lose control and leaving them in a state of giggling suspense. Perhaps there should have been more of this. As a person, he is totally likeable and easy to listen to in the extreme. As a comedian, he can predict what activities and gags his audiences will enjoy - and he times them with flair. However, when putting on a show that blends virtual entertainment with stand-up, it is difficult to find a balance. After all, the great thing about the technological age is that if we wanted to spend all night on a laptop instead of going to the world’s biggest arts festival, we could. Seeing a bit more of the man himself may have allowed for a more personal, varied and memorable performance. Never the less, This Is All I Have is still a tech-heavy show by a capable man who is well worth tuning in to.