Anthony Jeselnik: Funny Games
- Brian Donaldson
- 23 August 2018
One boldly offensive and magnificently crafted gag after another
You get the impression that Anthony Jeselnik could make jokes about any subject in the universe. He has all technique, craft, delivery and performance skills boiled down to an absolute art. But what he has chosen to cover in his act are abortion, murder-suicide, and dropping babies ('it's my hobby'). All of which must make him a pretty sick man, right? Well, that's entirely up for debate (though Jeselnik himself has closed that down by denying that he's anything like the man we see on stage), but what is absolutely not in doubt is his superior talent in blindsiding an audience at every turn with his elegantly offensive comedy.
You might think you know where this gag about a young girl with a glass eye, or joke about a neighbour with Alzheimer's, or routine about taking a friend to an abortion clinic is going: but you're lying to yourself. Whether he should even be making jokes about those subjects at all becomes virtually moot: they are merely vessels in a safe space through which he passes the most wonderfully imaginative and intricate wordplay.
'Stage Anthony' is a cocksure braggard glacially strutting back and forth across his stage, proclaiming his own genius ('yes, I am brilliant') and castigating the lack of voluble appreciation in the room at his latest outrage (there isn't: the place is practically shaking with the sound of raucous laughter). If your skin is thick enough to take it, sitting in an Anthony Jeselnik audience is to witness a stand-up masterclass.
Assembly Hall, until 23 Aug, 10.30pm, £18.50.