Jim Higo and Miki Higgins are, in one word, brave. Onstage, Higgins unfortunately had her leg strapped up from an injury and not, as one might be led to believe, from the bullet wound where the pair shot themselves in the foot when they committed to this show.
The pair appear embittered, ignorant and generally unfunny rather than cutting and Wildean as they apparently aim for – though they probably think Wilde is rubbish, too.
Throughout their hour, they claim all art is rubbish. Poetry, painting, sculpture, music, theatre, comedy, film and television - all “rubbish”. Higo and Higgins neglect to realise that their audience is presumably one that enjoy and, more importantly, appreciate “art” as they dismiss it all childishly with an air of undeserved superiority.
Many comedians have made their name in antagonism – Jack Dee, Rhod Gilbert, David Mitchell; the list goes on. A vital component of their success is substance; the ability to analyse something to within an inch of its life and extract every last joke, surprising the audience with their wit, rage and shrewdness. Higo and Higgins instead take a blanket dislike of all art, “just because” with no considerate justification like a child who hates broccoli only because they’ve never tried it. It’s not only regular targets like Jack Whitehall, Danny Dyer and Miranda Hart but spoken-word sensation Kate Tempest is criticised for her accent, The Stranglers – a bastion of English punk since the 1970’s, with 23 Top40 singles - are picked on because of a single lyric and Picasso? Well he’s “just s**t”.
This show is gobs of pedantry bound together with facile playground imitations. Wit, keen observation and depth could make the pastiche successful but the pair rarely demonstrate a fraction of the talent of their targets. This is an hour-long study into the cultural Napoleon complex. Whilst dismissing the success of others, Higo regularly repeats BROS’ “When Will I Be Famous?” (with a cavalier attitude to tune and key) and reminds us he did “three years in drama school” but his plea for recognition errs of the side of genuine desperation. The pair appear embittered, ignorant and generally unfunny rather than cutting and Wildean as they apparently aim for – though they probably think Wilde is rubbish, too.
There are a couple of good jokes and some of Higgins’ interspersed songs show a glimmer of the talent and in-depth vitriolic analysis required in a show of this type but these moments are brief and throttled by the more irritating sections, including one entirely worrying and unnecessary exchange about using alcohol to get women to sleep with you.
This show could work, but it needs work – an aspect of the creative success the pair paradoxically hate but also strive for. It will come as no surprise that the pair dislike reviewers and I’m afraid this time, the feeling is mutual.