It’s not Terry Clement’s night, but psychedelic Canadian doesn’t seem to mind one bit
I think most Terry Clement gigs are strange affairs, even when there’s only eight people in the audience and two of them hardly speak any English. He seems to be the sort of comic who is a true outsider, in the same way that, say, Simon Munnery or Doctor Brown is.
This slightly bird-like, wirey Canadian performs the sort of strange songs, dark stories and bizarre interludes that could only come from someone who’s done a bit of LSD in their time (he heavily hints towards as such). I bet he came to comedy via being in a band – his Spelling Bee song is a passable indie track that isn’t dissimilar to post-Pixies Frank Black.
It’s not going down too well, though, and while his videos of him in the bath and impressions of jellyfish are a cute distraction, it rarely leads to laughs – and he doesn’t seem to mind one bit. Being unfazed and just enjoying your work is a useful trait for a comic, but in this case he could do with working with the meagre audience a bit to generate some semblance of atmosphere. Instead he just cracks on.
A couple of pieces aren’t even intended for humour – he’s just putting stuff out there for the sake of it – such as his script about a garage sale that turns murderous, as if he’s pitching to a gaggle of potential benefactors not comedy punters. Mind you he would never be that cynical. More likely he’s just watched loads of Andy Kaufmann in his time.
You have to admire it though. Here’s a guy doing exactly what he wants, without compromise or malice, having himself a whale of a time, bombing, then wishing everyone an excellent life. He’s so relentlessly positive he’s either a hippie or a Christian. Or it could just be he’s Canadian. Either way he’s clearly a lovely man.
Fans of surreal humour may disagree, but I didn’t think his many curios added up to much of a comedy show I’m afraid, even if he does deserve more of an audience than he had on the night I attended.
Review written by Paul Fleckney
• Terry Clement: Din Times 8 is at 8.05pm at the Underbelly Cowgate