He comes out onto the stage in a visually confrontational way, but he starts off almost gently, particularly in contrast to the barrage we experience over the next 55 minutes. Ben thinks he has no sacred cows. He does, but we’ll get to that shortly. He talks rapidly and aggressively and politically. He makes no bones about it either. This is what he cares about, and this is what he will joke about.
And I think it’s that caring which I like. He’s clearly very passionate about these things and he’s trying to weave a comedic show AND make a point. It’s a rarity. In New Zealand I can only really think of Jeremy Elwood who tries to make his gags also be loaded with his opinions. Where Elwood might display a modicum of tolerance for a counter-view, Crellin will not. He knows best and fuck you. There are shades of Bill Hicks within Crellin, particularly in his misanthropic view of the world. He hates everyone. In fact there are some gags that run pretty closely to Hicks’ famous rant on Hitler being right, just an underachiever.
A lot of his rage he tries to mask with self-deprecation, but you can sense that it’s almost always there. Ben is the sort of comic who gives the impression of permanently being on the edge of a nervous-breakdown.
All in all it was a really enjoyable show. Ben is a clever, funny man. He is an idealogue, yes, but I don’t think you have to agree with him to laugh with him. This show is a brave show. He’s trying something that is exceedingly hard to do but I think he does it very very well.