Glenn Wool: This Road Has Tolls

Glenn Wool’s show opens with a rock video of moshing puppets. The song’s lyrics run ‘now you’re messing with a son of a bitch’ and Wool’s hairy head bobs up and down on screen. My heart sinks. Wool is known to be a pretty funny comedian. What’s happened?

However, as soon as he strides on stage, looking for all the world like Hagrid’s rock’n’roll brother, there is no time for dismay. He immediately begins to abuse the audience. ‘If you didn’t find that video funny, what the fuck is wrong with you!?’ he starts and we’re all in hysterics.

Wool has an easy rapport with his audience. His voice booms like an apocalyptic preacher and his face beams as though we’re all his favourite disciples. How much he has us in his grip becomes apparent when no one raises their hand to admit they were beaten as a child. He responds with elaborate insults, an aggressive stance and a twinkle in his eye. We love it.

The show winds up from the general to the personal. Wool, a Canadian living in the UK, gives an outsider’s perspective on the royal baby, Margaret Thatcher’s death (‘I thought she was IN Iron Maiden’), Operation Yewtree, and the horsemeat scandal. Throughout this he takes frequent steps back to deconstruct the comedic process and to show some awareness of the political ramifications of what he’s saying, making his dodgy jokes that bit more acceptable – such as an improper use of the letter Q making you ‘Qatarded’.

We really get going when we hit the anecdotes, which are consistently entertaining. Taking a plane with a slipped disc, staying in a hotel with unexpectedly low prices, delivering stand-up to a room full of Jewish pensioners: each story delivered with high theatricality, an entertaining scorn for stupidity, excellent timing, and a good dose of self-mockery.

The show’s title doesn’t feature that much, apart from in the declaration that airports are his hometown, but it doesn’t matter. The material is a little disparate, but, strangely enough, this is what brings the show together. As Wool admits himself, there isn’t anything to round this show off perfectly; so he falls back on puns and ties it all together with a return to Tie-land.

Reviews by Charlotte Goodman

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Performances

The Blurb

Glenn Wool, the tetherless vagabond returns... When people ask what it’s like, I give them the same warning that Google Maps gives me when I type in another cross-planet journey... This Road has Tolls.

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