Cormac Friel is a charming Irishman who gives an endearing narrative of his encounters with the job market and its mirror: dating. Talking us through a sequence of awkward moments, his well-constructed performance is amusing easy-listening.
Though not a particularly sleek show, Friel’s stand up comedy is strongly formed: each sketch is neatly linked and his comfortable stage presence smoothes over most blips easily enough. A few problems arise from his reliance on audience contributions. Though not an integral part of his set, there are several times when the success of a line will depend on whether an audience member has something witty to say. Questions like ‘you sir, what’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked at an interview?’ are quite hit and miss, and they do sometimes miss. These glitches are not reflective of Friel’s ability to make his audience laugh and he is able to build a pleasantly personal rapport, but they do mean that spectators begin to feel a little insecure of what to anticipate.
Mostly, however, Friel sources his humour internally. Outspoken by nature, he has a wealth of droll anecdotes: the failure of his gaydar, personality clashes in interviews, generalisations of his Gaelic heritage – all are delivered with a delicious flair. Occasionally a punchline won’t quite conquer – one or two flew straight over the audience’s heads - but generally he wins his crowd over with his cheeky, self-deprecating allure.
With original jokes and an appealing manner, Friel gets my recommendation in spite of the fact that he laughed heartily about how difficult finding employment with a degree in English Literature can be. He works well with the atmosphere at Jekyll and Hyde and, with a couple of pints, he will certainly be able to persuade you that he’d be a great employee – even if it’s only because of the craic he’ll bring to the office.