REVIEW: It’s not easy being Brendon (Brendon Green) (NZ International Comedy Festival 2015)

Brendon Green

Larry David meets Camus [by Matt Baker]

Brendon Green
Brendon Green

The nature of stand up comedy, as with any art form, has evolved since its inception. The most notable evolution is the transition from individual jokes to overarching themes and ideas that tie a show together and reinforce the medium’s story-telling origin, but that’s not the case for Brendon Green – at least not the intended one.

Green spends the majority of the hour telling us about the ideas for shows with which he decided not to do and why, the eponymous component allowing him to explore his personal anecdotes while ingratiating himself on the audience. The truth, as always, is stranger than fiction, and it is with this in mind that Green is able to present a show with comedic value at a Larry David level of embarrassment, but there’s a method hidden in the madness that would be absurd if there weren’t a conclusive logic to it all. It’s difficult to expand any further on the context of the show without spoiling the twist, or the content without giving away the jokes, but it’s a serendipitous payoff.

Montecristo has been an excellent venue for the Comedy Festival, but the size of the upstairs room means small audiences are noticeably smaller compared to some of the >100 seat venues. This is made even more noticeable by Green’s decision to not use a microphone. While the clarity and overall volume of his voice is not a problem, the throwaway comments that often cement jokes, which a microphone picks up, are lost. This results in much of Green’s energy dissipating and the show never quite taking off.

Absurdist philosophy refers to the conflict that as human beings we have an inherent tendency to find meaning in life, but will ultimately fail to do so. Albert Camus, however, encourages the individual to live defiantly in spite of this psychological tension, and continue to explore and search for meaning, which is also the inadvertent yet intentional message of Green’s show. Whether or not that was the plan all along… You’ll just have to see for yourself and decide.

It’s Not Easy Being Brendon plays as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival at Montecristo until May 16. For details see the Comedy Festival.

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