Edinburgh Review: Josh Widdicombe – If This Show Saves One Life…
Mistaking anal pedantry for wit is a common problem in a lot of stand-up comedy at the moment. I think it’s this that annoys me so much about Josh Widdicombe’s new Edinburgh show.
On and on he goes, nasally whining about everything under the sun, making these supposedly clever and incisive observations, when really all he’s doing is pointing out the bleeding obvious. One typical example of his approach is to tell us about something someone said to him that is obviously quite stupid, and then he’ll ingeniously point out where they went wrong. For example, he mentions a friend of his who claimed that laser quest was what war would be like in the future. Cue Josh for two minutes of sarcasm, saying, “I don’t think it is what war will be like in the future.” Well, give yourself a pat on the back sir, and a gold star for effort. Such incredible powers of mighty deduction and lofty reasoning cannot possibly go unrewarded.
As you might be able to tell, I usually quite like sarcasm, but Widdicombe relies on it way too much. He uses it to highlight lunacy that is already perfectly apparent and obvious to anyone with a few functioning brain cells. Take the ending of this show for instance. Bringing out some objects that are clearly designed in a manner unsuitable for their intended purpose, Widdicombe then stands there pointing this out to us. Is this what observational comedy has come to? Because, as much as I hate to deliver the old cliche, anyone can do that!
It should be mentioned here that I am in the minority with this view, as most of the audience are really enjoying the show. I can see why in certain respects. He’s a very competent operator, and there are the odd moments of good material that do actually crack me up. However, I hope in future he learns to demonstrate far greater levels of true wit and creativity rather than relying on the easy laughs of lowest common denominator observational comedy.
Josh Widdicombe: If This Show Saves One Life... is at the Pleasance Courtyard at 7:15pm until the 28th August.