Jack Barry: This Title Came to Me in a Dream

In his debut hour of Fringe stand-up, Jack Barry delivers an entertaining and energetic set which, despite his insistence to the contrary, contains an undercurrent of awareness and intelligence. His callbacks and the details of his little fictions are especially strong, constructing fresh worlds from an original perspective with just enough grounding in reality to invest in. What really sells the show is that Barry is so happy: he is visibly loving being a comic and excited to share his material, permanently grinning and chuckling along. Even when he discusses suicide and animal slaughter he is so relentlessly joyous that he never loses the room.

Barry is Eddie Izzard-like in his excellent use of callbacks

There are some weaker moments. The ‘I legally can’t tell you the name of Company X, so here’s a transparent and obvious description of it’ gag is a very old one. Though he does acknowledge the ubiquity of jokes about Tinder, his own are not strong enough to make inclusion worthwhile. The reversal-of-ambitions-about-comedy-and-day-job piece is a repackaging of a Phil Wang joke from at least three years ago, and the ‘I’m shocked that X was alive until it was killed!’ gag is an old Private Eye classic. The reading out of a letter two-thirds through the show needs a subversive twist to round the section off.

Nitpicks aside, there is very good stuff throughout the rest of the hour. A routine about reincarnation is the hilarious highlight. Attempts to include a message or a moral are welcomed but the one we get in the final minutes feels a little shoehorned; extending the reincarnation piece and including more callbacks (Barry is Eddie Izzard-like in his excellent use of callbacks) and moving it to the end could make it a better climax to the show.

Jack Barry is a chipper, friendly, and optimistic performer with a strong debut hour of stand-up and enormous potential. If I were allowed to give half-stars, it would be a 3.5. I anticipate the rest of his career with great interest.

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The Blurb

It's the debut hour of Jack Barry, (James Acaster's tour support and alumnus of Comedy Zone, Comedy Reserve) and it's time for you to watch him. Unless you're a square, in which case there's probably a beige party in beigeville that you could go to instead. Losers. 'An inventive flourish behind his likeable banter... A distinctive wit that should make him one to watch' (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk). 'Instantly likeable' (ThreeWeeks). 'A pleasing, assured presence' (Fest). 'One to watch out for in the future' (BroadwayBaby.com).