Amidst the gimmicky sketch shows and hard-hitting monologues that populate the Fringe every August, sometimes you need to go back to basics. Sometimes all you want is for someone to stand up on stage and deliver several jokes while you sit in the audience and laugh. That someone is Pete Johansson.
You might not find yourself in fits of hysterical giggles, but Johansson keeps the energy up and the laughs coming.
As soon as the Canadian comic appears on stage, the mood lifts perceptibly. He chats away with the audience, going through the usual routine of mocking people’s accent/job/appearance. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but Johansson is so infectiously energetic and so immediately likeable that you can’t help but enjoy it. And because he’s clever and sharp, Johansson doesn’t have to resort to picking on people to make it funny – with the exception of the helpless Geordie in the front row.
He eventually delivers on the promise of his show and the jokes start coming. His anecdotes are political without being preachy and he knows how to delve into controversy without having to shock the audience into laughter. A couple of stories about his experimental sex life with his wife stand out and are all the funnier because they really do ring true.
You might not find yourself in fits of hysterical giggles, but Johansson keeps the energy up and the laughs coming. Stories overlap to produce some unexpected and witty punchlines and throughout it all he remains relentlessly charming - even more so when he scrabbles for his notebook for a cue. This is intelligent comedy from a confident performer who manages to be both provocative and heartwarming.