With so many positive and upbeat comedy shows out there, why not go against the grain? This is Michael J Dolan’s reasoning for his blatantly bleak show. At the top of the show, Michael tells us his goal is to try his hardest to make us laugh but he already knows that most of us won’t – and he doesn’t care. It is this unabashedly blasé attitude that forms the tone of the entire set.
Cynical and self-deprecating, his world-weary material is designed to make you see the futility of life. He also has a knack for describing things in the most comical of ways, cleverly weaving in some well thought-out wordplay into his stories. His train of thought travels seamlessly through a number of subject matters from talking about his wife - one anecdote involving ‘duck business’ was particularly hilarious - to ranting about mankind as a whole.
The dominant theme of the show is his morbid fascination with death. The notion that we all deserve to die is a morose one but it is his ability to find the humour in it that makes the show oddly engaging. I found his thoughts on how the world will end and how he wants to die particularly entertaining.
The consistency of his material does dip in and out; there were some references that fell flat but mainly due to lack of context. However he takes note of this quickly and recovers, moving on smoothly to the next grim rant. Michael J Dolan’s style of wry observational comedy is not for everybody, but if you fancy a bit of stand up on the other side of feel-good, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.