They say timing is everything in comedy. I don’t mean timing in the traditional comedic sense but more in the sense of being in the right place at the right time.
Almost as important has to be categorisation. And funnily enough get that wrong and it can work to your advantage. Describe a comedy as a drama and it’ll be hailed as bold and challenging. Take a serious piece and list it as stand-up comedy and… it’ll be hailed as bold and challenging. Not always of course, there will always be people – who didn’t get the pre-meeting memo – who will be sitting mystified in the audience. I must say I felt a bit like that when I went to see Liam Williams – Capitalism. Luckily I was sitting at the back and I know by now to go with the flow. Shame for the slightly older guy sat very visibly at the front who didn’t know at what points he should laugh – that wasn’t really a concern as he didn’t laugh at all. Liam did weave this into the show by referring to him as a disapproving uncle who didn’t know what he (Liam) was getting at. That was probably the only time when everyone in the audience laughed in unison– apart from the older guy, that is.
The show opens – and continues – with Liam making shambolic attempts at doing his stand-up routine. But is he a serious performer pretending to be a crap comedian, or is he a crap comedian trying desperately to hold it together in front of an audience full of disapproving uncles? By the end he could have been an emperor dreaming he was a butterfly (or maybe his new clothes… ?) I was past caring.
The piece (it is probably more of a ‘piece’ than a show) is full of existential angst and societal impotency as experienced by young, white, university-educated males which is probably why I didn’t relate to it much. There are also extended references to Fight Club which seemed a bit bizarre for a show with such zeitgeistian credentials. For myself – I prefer to quote from Zoolander – ‘that (Liam Williams) he’s so hot right now!!’ So if you want to say you’ve seen him before he got on telly – get yourself along. The Cellar Monkey, 13.15 until 25th Aug