Dublin’s comedy night The Death of Comedy made relaxing, jovial, if not exactly side-splitting entertainment. The show includes an array of stand-up performances, from established names to new, up-and-coming faces, providing an eclectic mix of styles and material that should hopefully cater for everyone.
As the stand-up guests are rotated and vary with every performance, the only constant in the show is resident MC, Conor O’Toole. Like all veteran MC’s, O’Toole makes good use of the audience, whose clothes, careers and responses under interrogation can themselves make fertile ground for comedy. The first round of audience engagement admittedly felt sluggish, perhaps from a paucity of material. O’Toole’s style lacked vigour or originality, but nonetheless was a vortex of Irish charm. The relatively small audience in the end didn’t matter either; in fact, it gave the show a more intimate, interactive feel.
The show’s promise to be ‘fresh, experimental’ and ‘a little weird’, was a tad far-fetched. ‘The Death of Comedy’ is an over-reaching title: there was nothing subversive or qualitatively new in either the individual stand-up performances or the show’s overall formula, no radical reimagining of comedic conventions. There were only three guest performances in total; one of whom, the sketch troupe ‘No Pants Thursday’, was dragged reluctantly by O’Toole from the audience. The headliner, stand-up comedian Jarlath Regan, stuck to the tried and tested comic subject matter of his family. While his impressions of his wife’s driving directions from the passenger seat and her failure to understand the Man United/Man City distinction were undeniably entertaining, this does not push the boundaries of original comedy. Nonetheless the evening was light-hearted and fun, and on other nights, with different guests and audiences, it has the potential to be a lot more than that.