Michael Che: Six Stars
An unstructured calamity ruins some early promise
This article is from 2015.
It’s never a pleasant sight to witness a fine comedian hijacking their own show. Michael Che is now a big name Stateside and it would be awful to reach the conclusion that he’s over here with so little to fight for that the foot has come right off the gas. But there has to be some rationale behind him virtually giving up on his show to indulge in laugh-free side-tracks, tangents and off-shoots that wind up nowhere.
Over the course of an hour this would be difficult enough to stomach. But having mildly chastised his tech guy for not giving him the lighting signal that his ‘set’ was coming to an end (another indication that he was at the Fringe without a show featuring those classic three elements: a beginning, middle and end) he proceeded to hang around for a further 30 minutes, inadvisably climaxing the whole farrago by indulging in one of the worst moves a comic can make: ceaselessly berating an audience member for not howling with laughter at everything they’ve said.
While someone in that row came to her defence, requesting that Che backed off (he opted to ignore this sage advice), others joined in the barracking of a woman who had dared to defend herself against unreasonable attention from someone with a microphone. Perhaps Che revels in taking things to the edge, but it doesn’t do much for his comedy status or for engendering good feelings in a room which everyone entered with a common cause.
The saddest thing is that Che had an excellent 20 minutes that he could have built upon, but chose not to. His pro-Donald Trump material and analysis of taboo words suggested something better. But none of that will stay in the mind longer than his unstructured ramblings and ungenerous acts. ‘Crowd work is hard work’ he bemoans at one point. The solution to that problem is staring him right in the face.
The Stand 3, 558 7272, until 20 Aug (not 17), 7.40pm, £12.