Comedy can be incredibly effective as a vehicle for delivering a message. In Dominic Frisby’s new show, comedy is more like an attractive paint job – it’s an engaging veneer covering a compelling argument against the way our tax system works. As a result what we get is an hour of entertainment which doesn’t hit the comedic heights, but is an insightful experience nonetheless.
Frisby pulls off a considerable feat in making tax an entertaining subject, and the lessons learned at the show will stay with you.
When he steps onto the stage you can instantly see Frisby’s dressed for money. Suited, booted and topped by a bowler hat, the comedian looks like the quintessential City man. It doesn’t take long to realise the comedian has a compelling interest in cash, and in particular how the government goes about taking ours.
Switching between a main microphone (from which Frisby delivers the bulk of the show), his joke mic (conduit for financially repurposed down-the-pub gags), and his soapbox and loudspeaker (for the occasional polemical interjection) Frisby looks at how much we pay in tax, how it is collected, and what we get for our money. He paints a thoroughly depressing picture but keeps things from going terminal by drawing out a steady stream of laughs with a mixture of jokes and sharp observations.
Financial writer, comedian, voice-over artist... Frisby has an eclectic mix of interests and they’re all on display to a greater or lesser degree during his act. However, the one that dominates is the financial writer and much of the show feels more of an educational experience, rather than a purely comic one. So you learn about the part taxation played in a number of historically significant episodes, from Braveheart to the birth and spread of the Islamic faith, and it is genuinely fascinating, if not hilariously funny.
Frisby pulls off a considerable feat in making tax an entertaining subject, and the lessons learned at the show will stay with you. However, the balance between laughs and facts is a little too off for this to be a truly successful comedy show. If that could be addressed then the comedian could be onto something very special indeed.