Robert White: The Curious Incident of the Gag and the Gun-crime... Plus More Stuff! (2 stars)

This article is from 2014.

Robert White: The Curious Incident of the Gag and the Gun-crime... Plus More Stuff!

Uneven Free Fringe comedy show taking in puns, Asperger's and homosexuality

Robert White strikes an odd note from the off as he enters the stage dressed in a bin bag and playing the trumpet. Once the show proper starts, it is still difficult to get a handle on what he’s trying to pull off.

White has Asperger’s and uses his place on the autistic spectrum to frame his jokes and make meta-commentary on their reception, making much of his difficulty in reading people. He is similarly difficult to read. A large amount of his material is made up of groan-worthy puns, some of which land, but their abundance reaps diminishing returns. Many of his quips seem to reveal a mean-spiritedness, coming across as offensive without being funny enough to justify it.

He also makes a big deal out of being gay and, pretending to make advances towards a member of the audience whom he assumes is straight, exhibits an irksome heteronormativity. In 2014 talking about anal sex is not shocking and does not make one unique.

A performer can get away with a lot if they keep the laughter rolling in but White is yet to find an audience for his brand of humour.

Heroes @ The Hive, 226 0000, until 24 Aug (not 11, 18), 5.30pm, pay what you want (£5 in advance).

Robert White - The Curious Incident of the Gag and the Gun-Crime… Plus More Stuff!

  • 2 stars

Robert White / Heroes (PWYW) Before comedy Robert did 67 jobs in seven years, went to prison for a practical joke and wrote symphonies for his sock-puppet. In this show we see how the only Asperger’s, gay, dyslexic, cross-lateral, webbed-toed, ex-con, musical comedian turned the comedy from his life into a life of…


1. Robert White10 Aug 2014, 11:35pm Report

The above review came from the second preview show, that reviewers were not supposed to be coming to, and even though I wrote the below email to the editor stating that the review is basically an ignorant reviewers misunderstanding of a technical issue, they still published it. If you fancy you can check out the 4 star review of the show on Chortle, and my email to the editor is below:

‘Just fyi: explanation of Saturdays show.

Basically the show started really well but, at one point went suddenly quiet and there was a disconnect with jokes not hitting and seemingly a loss of confidence and audience enthusiasm.

A reviewer may blame this on me, the material or any number of incorrect factors, but the real reason was purely technical, and out of my hands, so to say otherwise would be just unfair.

What happened:
On day 1 and 2 of doing the show (the Friday and Saturday, as Thursdays show didn’t happen) there was a disconnect between the audience and me due to the fact that , with my stage position and the awful lighting in the room, when I’m on stage I simply could not see anything other than mere outlines of people. Friday was actually a good show, because people sat forward, but Saturday was much harder and at one particular point quite impossible, because everyone was at least 3 rows back and just invisible, all except one line of 5 people on the left side who I could only see an outline of. There is also another issue that, although noticeable on Friday, only became truly apparent on Saturday. This is that the show next door, emptying out at about 15 minutes into my show, creates a whole lot of noise and distraction, which was noisier on Saturday than Friday due to the greater numbers. And this is very very distracting for the audience which, being small, does not have the critical mass of size or laughter to counter such a distraction. Put these 2 things together and basically what happened on Saturday’s gig was; after starting really well, the show next door emptied out, this distracted the audience attention making them go quiet, and , because I was totally isolated from them due to lighting and position, it was impossible to bring the gig back immediately by connecting directly, eg. properly linking a reference/joke to someone in the room or whatever, and I had to plough away with the show. I did ever so gradually build it until the end, where it got better, but there had been a huge noticeable drop in the middle for reasons as described.

As such I have totally re-set the room now, so 1. I am not on the stage but on the flat and 2. We have actually found a way to light the room (that has no in built house lights) by pointing one of the spot lights to the ceiling where it reflects. But as you see the Saturday situation is nothing to do with my comic skills, my material or my show, so if I have taken the blame for Saturdays show being ropey, in the form of a bad review, then it is unjust.’

So there we go. Welcome to the mechanics of comedy and the truth about such situations, such facts which are a total mystery to critics and anyone else who hasn’t actually stood on a stage for real.

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