sat 02/03/2024

Brandon Wardell, Soho Theatre review - US comic wings it | reviews, news & interviews

Brandon Wardell, Soho Theatre review - US comic wings it

Brandon Wardell, Soho Theatre review - US comic wings it

UK debut show is disjointed and uneven

Brandon Wardell has a large following on social media

Brandon Wardell is a big social media star – he has a large following on Twitter and Instagram, YouTube and TikTok – and has in the past appeared as support for fellow Millennial Bo Burnham. And now he is doing a short run at the Soho Theatre.

Wardell starts by asking who in the audience had heard of him before they bought tickets, and those who had not; on the night I saw the show it was split evenly between the two groups and he appeared disappointed. It's a fair enough question for an American comic doing his first UK run to ask but, along with him telling us to laugh more loudly, it smacked of neediness. Later in the show he asked one of the people who had previously never heard of him why he was there. “Because the show I was going to see was cancelled.” That the honest reply got the biggest laugh of the hour says it all.

Wardell takes a meandering approach to his comedy, jumping from one subject to another and often ending a section without a punchline, or circling around to a subject he's talked about earlier. He disses the notion that “comedians are modern philosophers” – yup – and he flirts with being a bad boy when mentioning girlfriends, paedophilia or going to see disgraced comic Louis CK. His get-out is: “I'm doing a character!” This could offer up some rich material, but no, as soon as he raises the subject, we're off along another path – although there are one or two smart gags: “Do you ever jack off to something on Instagram and immediately report it?”

He talks fondly about Bernie Sanders and mentions the right-wing meme "Let's go Brandon!", the latter which makes sense only if you're familiar  with the minutiae of US politics. He also takes swipes at James Corden (correctly reading the room this time, but a bit of context as to why he doesn't like him would be fun to hear) and Jerry Seinfeld; he does a wicked impression of the multimillionaire cracking jokes about the cost of things, but who's to say Wardell wouldn't be doing the same in the same position?

The show – disjointed and uneven – feels woefully underprepared. It's almost like Wardell is winging it.

Wardell takes a meandering approach to his comedy


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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