Nick Helm: This Means War!
Charming manchild bellows orders at his audience army
This article is from 2012.
Nick Helm was the comedian who won last year’s best joke of the Fringe, for his gag, ‘I needed a password eight characters long, so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.’ If you saw his show, you’ll also remember he likes to shout a lot, sweat a lot, fondle (mostly male) audience members, and end the show semi-naked.
All this happens once again in This Means War!, a hybrid of boot camp, military history and confessions about his relationship problems. With hair metal songs. Loosely themed around war, with references to World War Two, ‘Nam, and The Deerhunter, his show offers the Helm insight on Nazism (‘people used to say Hitler only had one ball. No! Complete bollocks!’), and touches on his own ‘personal wars’ (being made to watch Sliding Doors by his girlfriend, for example, or a particularly stressful incident last festival, when he spilled an entire box of flyers).
His material is the kind of ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek-and-right-through- the-other-side stuff that, in a lesser comedian’s hands really wouldn’t work. But his H-Bomb delivery -- lots of barked orders and Chuck Norris-style manliness, paired with flashes of sobbing clinginess -- let him away with murder. ‘Actions speak louder than words. And I speak louder than action,’ he deadpans through dry ice in his intro, an action movie voiceover piss-take.
The crowd laps up the affectionate abuse, doled out among nonsense poems and soft rock ballads; those who took up position in the front row clearly hoped they’d get dragged up for a sweaty headlock, followed by whispers of tenderness. Not to sully Helm’s name with a Jack Black comparison, but if the sweary, clowning side of the Kung Fu Panda was fused with a Londoner’s cuddly bile, then made to read Tim Key’s poems after being force-fed testosterone and steroids, it might come close to the Nick Helm experience.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 14), 5.30pm, £12.50--£13.50 (£11—£12.50).