Michael Che’s show Cartoon Violence offers a little fresh perspective on current issues such as racism, bullying, sex, and the recession. His style is very casual: he squints at the audience with a stoner-haze type stare and this deadpan, blunt style makes you laugh almost as much as his fresh and disarming material. This man is blessed with being naturally funny as well as funny on stage.
Che’s topics are wide-ranging and open-ended. He has avoided the looming pitfall that many American comedians fall into of failing to translate or alter their material for an overseas market. That his jokes and stories about his home country and life there still generated laughs is testament to his understanding of this and his skill in altering his routine in light of it.
Che’s control of the show in general is impressive, even more so at a late night performance. Heckles and audience input came frequently and when he asked questions, people often gave bizarre responses. He remained unflustered and unrushed, however, and this confidence and experience stood him in good stead: his improvisation was just as good as his base material and this ability to make each show a little bit special is a very valuable one for a comedian to have.
While Che’s casual, slow style is funny, it did drag the final part of the show down somewhat. Spaces, pauses and a no-need-to-hurry attitude that resulted in laughs at the start of the routine only resulted in confused chuckles in the last fifteen minutes, as though the audience had got this particular joke and were confused why he was telling it again.
That said, this is a very funny show. Che’s talent for comedy and also delivery see him through and, while he could do with speeding up at some parts, and perhaps including a bit more material and a bit less squinting and comedic silence, Cartoon Violence won’t leave you disappointed.