Simon Munnery: Hats Off To The 101ers And Other Material | North Wall Arts Centre, Sat 11 February 2012
Simon Munnery once described the internet as proof of what happens if you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters.
At the North Wall on an alarmingly chilly Saturday night he proved that he is still able to deliver his discomfiting barbs with effortless charm.
With songs, poetry and set pieces reminiscent of Bob Newhart, Hats Off To The 101ers (and the other material) led us through a succession of gently disruptive ideas: the two men crucified with Jesus left to consider their fate after his body has been taken down; the role of chance in Sherlock Holmes' scientific method; Bob Dylan's career packed into a single song.
As with Stewart Lee and other Fringe-style comedians, the danger with Simon Munnery is that you get caught up in analysing technique and considering the social and cultural insight. Comedy strays dangerously close to Art when it's this clever.
So never mind all that. The best thing about Simon Munnery's show was that it was funny. His eccentric charm drew us in and we laughed all night.
From his bubble-hatted Thought Policeman – who found worryingly few suspects among us – to the chaotic punk musical about the airship R101, our funny bones were prodded as hard as our complacency.
And he's right about the internet, of course. There's so much free junk out there now, you might think there's no point in being any good. Thank goodness artists like Simon Munnery will still take the risks – and that people will still turn out on a cold night in February to join in the fun.