A fine hour of socially aware stand-up
John Gordillo might be a sort of in-house Yoda for the comedy industry, but his stand-up career is hardly a runaway train (he’s got other stuff going on). This is a shame. In front of a half-full Stand 2– including several medium- to high-profile comedians – he demonstrates that he’s a comic voice who deserves to be more widely heard.
Gordillo know that a stand-up comedian having a pop at capitalism isn’t going to cause any riots, but in his rather academic hands you can be sure that … standards will be kept. Rather than being a generic rant about the Tories and neoliberalism, his beef is with the modern-day phenomenon for companies who never leave you alone, whether it’s Virgin Trains constantly asking for feedback, Holiday Inn telling you what kind of sleep you’re having, or any website asking you to review things. We live in a world where you might easily give Domino’s Pizza a higher star rating than the Grand Canyon, he points out.
You sense he feels restricted by the 60-minute time limit of the show, and given Gordillo’s tendency to intellectualise, that’s probably true. But the finished product is a great balance of analysis and gags. Some of it is low hanging fruit – such as reading out depressingly inane Trip Advisor reviews of the Grand Canyon – but even that section acts as both punchline and set-up, serving a later joke that ties up the show in a nice neat bow.
When he embarks on a thoroughly thought-out routines they invariably come to a delicious comic conclusion, such as his piece on Pret a Manger giving leftovers to the homeless, while his hatred for Homes Under the Hammer – and for himself for watching it – is amusing in itself.
It’s a show with real reach. You dread to think how much material was considered for selection, and few comics would attempt to take on such a wide-ranging subject that could have a whole thesis written on it.
Given the amount of meat Gordillo gives you to chew on, there’s plenty more I could talk about, but suffice to say this is an impressive show that almost feels like relief – it makes sense of some of the bullshit we all have to put up with around us – and turns it into real funnies, too.
Review by Paul Fleckney