Thursday, July 29, 2010

David O'Doherty/Anthony Jeselnik/Arj Barker last Sunday

What else would we be doing on a Sunday afternoon anyway, David O'Doherty asks us all, other than sitting in a temporary mosque in a garden in Dublin listening to some comedy? What indeed. David O'Doherty is the ideal man to host a gig like this. He points out himself that his credentials are impeccable, given that he often does readings for children in libraries, and they mainly take place during daylight. Plus he just has that kind of comedy that lends itself to the daytime. Sure, he has some strong opinions, but unlike a lot of other comics, those opinions are not really about porn or sexual positions or how hateful women are, but about Shakira and how great bicycles are because they just stay up on their own by magic, and about pandas and what panda-related facts may or may not be true. He looks completely at home and everyone happily goes with him on the stories of personal frustration and childhood non-trauma.

Arj Barker isn't far off being this kind of comedian either, although he does look more like a night-timer who's been woken up and pushed on stage before being given his breakfast. He brings plenty of laughs with his stories about Avatar, Internet scams, and this own unique view of global warming and environmental disaster. He gets a couple of nice local references in, and in general does enough to make any right-thinking person want to see his full show.

And sandwiched in between these two easy talkers was Anthony Jeselnik. He's the other type of comedian. He speaks in short sentences, and waits for laughs. He waits too long. The laughs don't really come. I imagine him as a contributor to Sunday Miscellany and that's amusing for about two minutes till he tells a joke that nobody laughs at and suggests that we were offended. Sometimes we're not offended. Sometimes you're just not funny.

That is the problem with these three-comic bills. Of course the other problem with festivals is that your MC might come back and suggest that everyone go over to the big tent and beat up Des Bishop, just because he's in the big tent. And that's a lot of effort for a Sunday afternoon.

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