Swedenborg, the Devil and Me

Gregory Akerman’s set is a slightly awkward one to review - nearly the entire thing is based around one terrible write up he received for one of his shows. The claim contained in the review was that Gregory Akerman, due to his lack of any ability as a stand up, was in fact both evil and the devil. Shocked by this revelation, Ackerman has gone out to try and discover if he could actually be the devil. I will say this right now: he is not evil, and most definitely not the devil, but he is God-damned awful.

When a stand up begins his set by talking about his brother’s botched suicide attempts and the way he exploits them to get girls, you know there is something horribly wrong. However, when this material is delivered in Akerman’s unchanging, dull and lugubrious tone it becomes close to unbearable. This monotonous mumbling is then paired with the terrible, ill-conceived dialogue sections which surface throughout. These conversations, both parts delivered in his soporific dirge, are Akerman’s attempt to add some variation to his set; not only does he use this set up three times, he spins them out for what feels like an eternity and when the punchline does eventually come it turns out not only to be unworthy of set up, but of being told at all.

Akerman’s set is filled with intellectual jargon relating to his quest to discover whether or not he is the devil (although for his information it is Hebrew and Greek gematria and not Aramaic that causes the Number of the Beast to be the equivalent of the Emperor Nero and it is pronounced Ahura Mazda not Mazdu; yes he really does talk about both). This kind of intelligence can add greatly to a set if it has a point. Unfortunately to make it work there needs to be jokes, or at least lightheartedness, to parallel the cleverness - Akerman’s torturous delivery does absolutely nothing to inject humour into these dusty subjects. When he reaches his joining of the Swedenborg Society (a group dedicated to Emmanuel Swedenborg, the man who mapped heaven and hell) to learn the secrets of the Devil, the show reaches its absolute nadir, with no humour to be found amongst the anecdotal deluge. Greogory Akerman is not the Devil and this is not hell; this is purgatory, a place where time stands still and not one jot of humour can pierce the tedium.

The Blurb

Gregory Akerman is not the devil. Last year Gregory was accused of being the devil. Thanks to Gregory’s small-minded, petty, nature, he was unable to let this comment slide and attempts to prove his innocence.