Benny Boot: Set-Up, Punchline… Pause for Laughter (2 stars)

This article is from 2011.

Benny Boot: Set-Up, Punchline… Pause for Laughter

The secrets of comedy remain a mystery here

When you set yourself up as a stand-up who has nailed the very fundamentals of comedy structure, you really are setting yourself up for one mighty fall. And Benny Boot plummets without trace during this show. The crowd is welcomed in by his South African character Walter Montgomery, the ‘Black Mamba’ of comedy whose signature is to do a snakey thing with his hands whenever he is about to unveil a secret of comedy.

There’s a cute bit about different microphones being designed for various comedic genres, but by then we await the real comedian beneath the bad wig with anticipation. After five minutes of Aussie Benny Boot, you might wish he had just kept the silly hair on. There’s a jittery, Mitch Hedberg-like innocence about Boot, but while at his peak the dead Minnesotan piled up blazingly funny one-liners on top of one another, an audience has to wade through a dozen or more Bootisms before stepping on a joke of any worth.

Boot’s nervousness translates itself into giggling at nearly every gag he’s managed to dredge out of himself, but while such a habit can be endearing, when the laughs are largely his own it soon becomes distracting and irritating.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug (not 22), 9.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8).

Stand up comedy benny boot

Benny Boot: Set-Up, Punchline… Pause for Laughter

  • 2 stars

Join Benny Boot ★★★★★ (ThreeWeeks), 'Keen instinct for jokes' ( NBC’s Last Comic Standing finalist previews his debut show Set-up, Punchline… Pause for Laughter. Just a fancy way of saying jokes, structured in an offbeat unconventional style.

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