Always angry, sometimes funny
It’s a sentiment that’s hard to argue with, given the show is a ball of hate that begins on pig rape and visits compulsory sterilisation and a rant about Japanese people along the way. I wouldn’t want babysit that child.
Despite how it may sound, though, it’s actually pretty entertaining stuff. You get used to the unrelenting bitterness pretty quickly, once you realise that it’s not going to change. And there are some (some) truths in there – among them, the inanity of workplace small talk, and what kind of person a real-life internet would be – and you have to admire his honesty in saying that the reason he does comedy is for the shame.
Elsewhere, his sick mind is put to good use in wondering how paedophile rings could possibly be organised before the internet, and why Alzheimer’s could be a blessing in disguise. It’s not so much in the mould of “ironic” offensive humour as Jimmy Carr or Ricky Gervais, more like the barely controlled bile of Jerry Sadowitz – particularly with his potshots at anything middle class, such as Radio 4 comedy, Chris Addison, The Great British Bake-Off, the list goes on.
You would never want to smooth all the edges of a comic like Hoo, but his unrefined style does hold him back. Several times a promising set-up gets wasted, as his anger seems to overwhelm his comedic instincts. It could be a missing punchline that turns a rant into a joke, or a misfiring delivery as his bitterness gets the better of him. Keeping a tighter grip on his onstage craft would help, too, as he has a tendency to wander out of the spotlight, and his eye contact with the audience disappears when he gets going, as if the whole thing is for his benefit not theirs.
Hoo is the sort of genuine comedy misfit we need more of, in the mould of Lewis Schaffer, only less self-obsessed and more angry at the world for his lot. His is the comedy of lashing out, and when he lands a punch, you know about it – but there would be more knockout blows if he could channel that anger a bit better.
Considering Hoo is a comic who operates at the extreme end of everything, 3 stars seems the most inappropriate score of all to give, but there you go.
Review by Paul Fleckney