REVIEW: ‘Let Us Reappraise Famous Men’ – Jonny Potts, NZ International Comedy Festival 2013

I’m not going to lie, I mostly wanted to see Jonny’s show because of how funny he is on twitter. Call me shallow, call me undedicated to the craft of stand up in preference for 140 character zingers, but when stand up involves me putting on pants and going out in the rain, I’m going to assess you by twitter.

Let Us Reapparaise Famous Men was held at the Cavern Club, which was delightfully apt given the show was about a range of ridiculous dudes, and the Cavern Club is where your dad drinks when he’s feeling trendy*.

The night I went was an extra show Potts had put on after his original run finished over a week prior, and he was apologetic to the audience in case he forgot anything. Granted I have no basis for comparison, but given the evening spanned from super rugby teams created by Potts when he was 11, to his use of margarine in frying an egg, to an amusingly deluded British bouncer and maker of horrible horrible films, I don’t think he missed anything.

His show called on literary references, took down some famous dickwads and taught the audience about obscure historical men they’d probably never heard of. There were satisfying jibes but hardly any easy-wins. Except for John Key, no one likes him. Sorry that’s not true. Bronagh likes him. Assuming Bronagh likes him.

Potts has a mixture of incredibly dry humour and theatrical funniness, which is oddly complimentary and doesn’t leave you feeling sick of any one style. He’s endearingly self deprecating and, turns out, has a bloody good singing voice. Like, so good if he had a band I would go and see them religiously. And I’ve mentioned my disdain for things which involve me putting on pants. He also has pretty great hair and now my boyfriend is teasing me for writing that.

The only flat parts of the show were where Potts’ dryness was too extreme and the joke went over people’s heads. That said, there weren’t many of those moments, and most of the time people were laughing from agreement, sheer obscurity or because Potts painted a scene so compelling you really wanted to leave him and George Clooney to have some private time but you just couldn’t turn away.

On a personal feminist killjoy note, it’s really heartening to see young New Zealand comics like Potts cultivating clever humour and tackling their subject matter without reverting to un-funny sexist crap. Or even including jokes about how un-funny sexism is. Some of the most recent high profile feminist debates have been about how alienated women are from comedy, so it was relieving to know that I was going to see a show which welcomed me as an audience-member and afforded me with having a big enough lady-brain to get references about Jack Kerouac and the Beastie Boys.

A++ would stare at his hair again.

*I mean that without an ounce of venom, the Cavern Club is adorable.

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