Liquid Room Annexe, Edinburgh
We’ve already seen JJ as an actor in the brilliant Blind Date Project, so we thought we should catch him in his more regular role as a stand-up. He’s on the free fringe this year so when we take our seats, he’s busily moving furniture around and assuring us that ‘the show hasn’t started yet,’ something that seems to be a recurring motif this year – though in this case, it’s actually true.
He launches confidently into his routine and his lazy, Canadian-inflected drawl immediately draws the crowd into his stories and what he likes to call his ‘Jokey Jokes.’ He’s a likeable presence on the stage with a wide-ranging selection of topics to draw on. I particularly liked a routine in which a stupid friend (now an ex-friend) keeps repeatedly electrocuting him in the shower, while his observations about Edinburgh and the Scottish people benefit from the fresh perspective of the outsider’s eye. Some of the routine is sexual in content (be warned, this is listed as a 16 plus event). JJ makes a remark about ‘knowing your audience,’ but his description of Axl Rose’s comments to a pole dancer at an after-show party are, for my money, one of the few misfires in this set. Other people seemed to love it though, so maybe he does know his audience, after all.
At one point in the proceedings, a young woman in the audience suffers from a sudden bout of coughing, which throws him off his stride a bit. When he inquires if she’s okay, her friend advises him to ‘stop making her laugh!’ Which, when you think about it, is priceless. JJ dubs today as ‘Dry Cough Monday.’
He soon recovers his equilibrium and comes back with an amusing true story about the television in his hotel room. Like all gigs on the free fringe, the audience are invited to throw money into a bucket at the end, but unlike some others comics, JJ is giving something back – a USB card featuring some rarely seen footage.
This is good stuff, well worth checking out. If you want a seat near the front, get there early!