Every twenty years or so, comedy re-vamps itself. In the ‘80s, we had Alternative Comedy, a conscious break with the mainstream that shook up the worn-out punchline in favour of something daring, something completely unpredictable. Scott Jeffrey and Matt Woodward claim to be the prophets of the New Alternative movement, an evolution of the giants that preceded them. However, a fifteen minute description of Woodward’s un-elasticated penis somewhat put this into question.
It must be said that genitalia was not the only subject on the menu; dog turds and perverse sexual fantasies also took up a lot of time. I am the first to admit that these subjects are not essentially bad sources of comedy just because they are uncouth, but take it from me, the delivery left a lot to be desired. In fact, both Jeffrey and Woodward came off as giggling schoolboys who were given the floor by the drama teacher and could only think of rude words to get the class on side.
Admittedly, it wasn’t an easy gig in the Jekyll & Hyde; only seven of us were in the room and I must commend Woodward and Jeffrey for steaming ahead with enthusiasm. However, they both seemed to take this small gathering as an opportunity to lose all sense of structure. Woodward decided it would be a good time to test the waters for a new series of Haikus he had written. Despite the fact that half of the room were not from the UK, the poems were pretty specific to British culture (two were addressed to the one and only Bruce Forsyth). There was also a very strange joke involving Robbie Williams, lubricating gel and a camel; the risk did not pay off.
Jeffrey also favoured the toilet humour and attempted to regale us with anecdotes about his incontinent relatives. However, what was so frustrating about both of the comics is that they were using these jokes to dampen their real highbrow tastes. The best points of the show were their almost accidental references to Proust, Freud and Foucault. If only they had confidence in their audience, they could have really done themselves justice. Woodward and Jeffrey are two very clever guys who genuinely want to give the audience a good time. However, in their attempt to step away from the mainstream they failed to identify with the audience on any level.