At the beginning of his show, Javier Jarquin warn his audience that his show is called Joke Ninja because his jokes are so stealthy that you probably won’t notice them. The problem however was the opposite. The jokes were about as subtle as being hit in the face with a ninja throwing star. But not quite as funny.
After an entertaining first ten minutes, Jarquin quickly began to run out of steam and look nervously at his audience, as if their presence was pure effrontery designed with the specific intent of putting him off his act.
But what act? There was no through line, no structure, no point being made. Jarquin just rambled from one astoundingly unoriginal topic to the next; his wife, French films, funny things that British people say. He even brought up the one thing that no New Zealand comic should ever. Ever. And that is pavlova. We’ve heard it before and it wasn’t funny then. It’s even less funny now.
At the end Jarquin took an unexpected turn in the direction of a zombie-run, post-nuclear apocalypse and how it would probably be better than the world we have today. This would have made a perfect through line for the whole show. What aspect of life could not be examined via the telescopic vision of a zombie apocalypse-coloured lens? This element was added only in the last five minutes, after fifty five minutes of fluff and nonsense.
A quality example of said fluff was when Jarquin moved onto a topic the banality of which is quite difficult to comprehend; he said ‘I don’t actually believe ADHD is a real thing. Didn’t have that in my day.’ Wonderful, here is yet another man with a microphone offering his medical opinion on a topic he knows nothing about. His follow up of ‘Do you remember the good old days, the good old days before ADHD, with Mr Belt?’ was such a crass bit of stand-up that he seemed to be pulling off an exquisite parody of himself. If only he had had the capacity for such irony.