Can't say I expected to have my brain working during a comedy show. Normally it's just relaxing over a beer, switching the brain off and (hopefully) trying not to pee from laughing.
Elwood is a comedian I've watched on tele for years and years. Those times he was one of a number of comedians taking to the stage.
Last night was the first time I've seen him in the flesh. Elwood, and only Elwood.
...It was surprising.
His routine focuses around the notes that he uses to prepare for shows. He explains some are easier to remember than others and then uses them to lead into some of the hilarious, yet insightful bits of comedy that we Kiwis love. Call them rants, if you will.
Part way through the show you'll realise you're putting a bit of thought into what Elwood is saying. Then comes the realisation that what you're laughing at is kind of true, only this comedian shows how stupid it all is (by the way, Colin Craig and Aaron Gilmore might not want to attend these gigs).
Is Elwood our thinking woman's crumpet? Could be ...
While a couple of bits of this show sound familiar, Elwood still provides a good number of laughs. He is a solid Kiwi comedian and when he's on fire you'll be gasping for breath.
For any other comedian, it would be a bit concerning that the only prop on stage is a giant notepad displaying the barely visible word, ‘Notes'. The Foxglove Ballroom does not suit a low-tech prop and looking around, it's likely the patrons all have an i-pad for taking notes and a Wii for keeping fit.
Jeremy does us the pleasure of introducing himself from the back of the room so it takes a few moments for us to stop searching and realise... He's behind us. Given the establishment, I'm sure some people thought the show might actually be via hologram.
‘Notes', it is revealed, is a show about the occupation of a comedian. Or rather the preoccupation of sharing stories that happen to be a bit funny. When he walks into a bar what does he get asked as a comedian? Tell us a joke. He responds with no. Every time.
I myself am trying (!) to get a job in radio. And when people ask what I study, they always follow up with a ‘do your radio voice!'. I always say no. We relate instantly.
Jeremy is armed with quick wit and some seriously speedy synaptic connections. He interacts with the audience in a respectful manner, but uses them still as a means to an end with the “where are you from?” question. Being so tactful and only slightly offending his targets, we can forgive him for using that old classic line to get the ball rolling.
After he reveals where comedians get their material from, we embark on a criminal, geographical and religious journey; all of which have a certain political undertone. How do these things intertwine you might ask? They all reveal how stupid people can be.
From bestiality being on par with being gay to Gareth Morgan's eradication of felines; from the Pope's ‘resignation' to the reign of guns in America … he helps us see that perhaps we should listen more carefully to what the media is telling us, think, and only then form an opinion.
Punch lines are sharp, and not at all tacky. He flows like lava with barely an um or an ah unintended. His tangents and anecdotes are totally relevant and he always picks us up at the point he leaves which makes us feel emotionally secure and his show pretty darn smooth.
If I were to describe him as a bowl of wedges, he would be seasoned with a bit of spice and a dash of cheese. This bowl is the real deal.
He's the guy you'd want at a party to give the illusion that you possess some intelligence reflected in the people you hang out with. But he's not the guy you'd take to Sunday Mass with your Mum for fear his note-taking would offend the parishioners.
This was a killer decision.
Jeremy Elwood’s opening night was on at the same time as Michelle A’Court’s opening night. Two of my favourite NZ comedians both on at the same time.
Only a coin flip could sort this out. Jeremy Elwood won.
Elwood is one of the best NZ social critic comedians in the game. I’ve watched his work for many years (he must have been at almost every Comedy Fest since it began) and he just keeps going from strength to strength. It’s an intelligent comedy that shrewdly highlights the falsehoods of modern society while making you laugh your arse off.
Notes is a show that flips through the notebook Elwood uses to write comedy. Sometimes he can remember the reference, sometime he can’t. Each is a platform for him to wildly leap off with an intellect that challenges and dissects the everyday acceptance of spin.
Elwood is a clever brand of comedy that makes you feel like your brain has had a work out. We need to see him more in every medium.
Well worth the effort to go and see.