Polemical Comedical [by Matt Baker]
While Jeremy Elwood admits to being a typical stand up comic in regards to his age, race, and gender, the 38-year-old white male is actually a rarity, that is, a New Zealand comedian who has sustained a professionally public career in stand-up comedy for the better part of 15 years.
Elwood’s social criticism and satire is reminiscent of the late Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce, the latter of whom when reading court documents on stage was asked to tell jokes, replying, “These are the jokes.” That’s not to say that Elwood doesn’t deliver great punch-lines, or just rant for an hour, simply that he embraces the opportunity offered through comedy to express his musings via a rhetorical dialogue.
His biting commentary chews up and spits out everything and anything in its path, from the comedic landmines of politics and religion, to gun control and the media.
While his fundamental views could be interpreted by either side as part of the liberal or even conservative (both parties are open playing fields) agenda, this just goes to show that regardless of his personal opinions, Elwood implores people to think for themselves, and be less socially and politically apathetic. He’s not pontificating, he’s being polemical, because these things mean something to him – and they should to all of us.
My only criticism on his performance was that he seemed to hold back, however, I would put this down to a curbing of his ferocity in response to the vocally quiet Tuesday night audience. A well-seasoned traveller, it would be interesting to see how his comedy is interpreted in the United States, where he has often performed. New Zealanders, however, should take the time to reintroduce themselves to one of our best long-standing comedians.
Notorious* presents Jeremy Elwood Live at Q Vault until 3 May. Details see Comedy Festival.