24 hours. That’s how long the record stood for hardest review I’d had to write for a Comedy Festival show. It had been held by Adrienne Truscott’s ‘Asking for It’. It had been held by Adrienne Truscott’s ‘Asking for It’ because that show was an in-your-face confrontation of rape jokes as performed by a half naked comedian.
Well now Ben Target has that record. But his show is very difficult to review because I’m still not sure what the fuck happened. The show starts off weird and gets weirder, then weirder, then weirdest. I can’t even begin to explain it, because to explain it would potentially spoil it. Like that movie Identity with John Cusack. You know, there’s the murderer, and the people at the abandoned hotel and they all die one by one? Yeah, like that.
There are jokes of sorts at the beginning. Bizarre, absurd, surreal jokes that had me note down “Simon Munnery-like”. But then it stopped being Simon Munnery-like when he got the entire audience on to the stage to spend time together and take part in the rest of the show.
He’s likeable is Ben. Very likeable. Also his surname is pronounced Target (like Bucket dear). Not Target. He gets us doing a lot of things. I don’t want to say what. But they are fun things. And funny things. And warm things. I have never left a show feeling so close to my fellow audience members. We all laughed together, and people chatted long after the show had finished.
There weren’t so many laugh out loud jokes, but it depends what you are looking for in your comedy. This was a fun show. A show filled with joy and sweetness. The next day I’m still feeling warm towards the show. That’s not to say we didn’t laugh. We did. Just not all the time at jokes. Some jokes. Some sight gags. It’s hard to explain.
I’m too young to properly know about Andy Kaufman’s material, but this felt like his joyous son. Except Kaufman did his material for him, Ben does his material for, and with, the audience. This is one of the great joys of comedy I’ve experienced and I want you all to go along and try it.
5 May – 9 May, Bats Theatre