Phil Wang & Jonny Lennard
JOSH MARKS and WILLIAM STARK try to agree after an evening of hits, and a couple of misses.
ADC Theatre, 11PM, January 15th, £6/5
Two very different performers took to the stage in this one-night-only show at the ADC, and both drew a fair share of giggles. And they certainly deserved it. It may not have been the slickest performance of the year, but it had its highlights.
Wang was slightly mad, and sometimes to his detriment. He struggled at times to keep his material in order, with notes written down on little scraps of paper. This was unfortunate, because when composed and prepared, Wang can use his gags masterfully. They may not be better jokes, but they’re more confidently delivered, and the comedian can focus more on his audience than on his memory. Some real side-splitters.
The gags of Wang and Lennard were not particularly novel, though Lennard’s on-stage persona is innovative and exciting. Self-deprecating humour and racial stereotypes may not be a new concept for stand-up comedians, but both exhibited these age-old techniques with some style. Lennard may have swayed awkwardly before the expectant audience – Wang is a tough act to follow – but his performance was solid. At the same time, we wanted him to speed up and get more jokes in. His act seemed a slow-starter, but by the end, the audience were demanding an encore. He obliged charmingly.
Wang was a presence on stage. He moved and he turned, and he did a hilarious thing with his eyebrows that doesn’t have a name. The audience could not let him out of their sight, and the entertainment value is that you never quite know what’s going to happen next. As he jibed to a heckler, “this thing has no structure”: correct. Not many a comedian can include Batman, Chinese whispers and Sunday culture supplements so seamlessly, and the final sketch was a comedy gem.
Lennard, like Wang, was very honest and inviting to the audience. His quick riposte to the thirty-something year-old in the second row proves that this performer is not just a one-trick pony. He can think on his feet, as well as expertly deliver his rehearsed material.
It was funny, but it could have been even funnier. The highlights were hilarious; we were just left wanting more of them.