Carl Donnelly: Jive Ass Honky
A triumphant trawl through some dark and intimate material
This article is from 2015.
'Ready to spend an hour with a comedian with low self-esteem?' might not sound like the most enticing opening gambit. Don't worry, the show is nowhere near as depressing as the premise. And while Carl Donnelly's new hour dips into therapy, body dysmorphia (he suffers from gynecomastia), anxiety and divorce, he skilfully mixes self-deprecating humour, honesty and gut-busting laughs.
At heart it's still observational comedy; it just so happens that over the last few years Donnelly has spent time in therapy so it’s inevitable that he can't help but look at the funny side. Riddled with insecurities but painfully aware of their absurdity, Donnelly gives us an emotional reality that makes his stories even funnier, helping them connect on a more personal level.
Even the moments of broad comedy – from adventures in manscaping to unsavoury romantic entanglements on a cross-country train – are underpinned by the idea that men need to open up and talk more. Donnelly is nearly always the butt of his own jokes and it's that ready wit and willingness to expose his vulnerable side that makes Jive Ass Honky so human. He's a compelling storyteller and even in a sold-out room it still feels informal. The show ends with a shared intimate moment, wrapping up the hour on a triumphant high.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 8.30pm, £8.50–£10 (£7–£9).