Dave Johns. 7.9.19. Arc. Stockton

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Where start up starts and ends in today’s overtly scripted environment is anyone’s guess.  Overly rehearsed, and full of let-me-pretend-this-insight-has-just-come-to-me moments, modern stand up often lacks the danger which came with off the cuff comments and unstructured agendas of the pre 2000’s.  Perhaps driven by a need to pre-think a script before it reaches today’s sensitive environment, there’s an argument to say that stand-up is no longer stand up; it’s a pre rehearsed comedic play, tightly timed and rigorously tested.  Generating the idea that comedy could be generational, John’s show tonight, mostly unscripted and improvisational, is a clear throw-back to a style of delivery driven by his 30 odd years in the business.  Working stunningly when reacting to unscripted questions or insights about the evenings low(ish) attendance, the show stumbles in places due to its informality and lack of structure; the obvious downside of in the moment comedy.  Hampered slightly by a lack of direction, and the sensitive crowd reactions which come from instinctive/unfiltered jokes, John’s demonstrates that the best comedy is not a scripted show, but a living breathing event that carries as many look away moments as it does belly laughs.  Brave and original, John’s work is a reminder that improvising is a much harder skill than repeating.

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