Michael Che: Six Stars

The Stand
August 7-20
Playing to a sold-out crowd of mixed ages, Che skilfully assessed the mood of the audience early on and tweaked his material to suit. Warming up the punters with some gentle teasing of the Scots’ reputation as heavy drinkers and consumers of fried food (cleverly stemming from self-deprecation) gave him the confidence to own the stage for the rest of the hour.
He has a slow, laconic manner of delivery, often sitting casually on his high stool. It works; it draws you in to what he’s saying, and his frequent pauses carry enough suspense to make you concentrate harder on guessing into what territory he’s leading you. He throws in a knowing look and a raise of an eyebrow, and you can’t help but burst out laughing at the ingenious layering of his humour. His eyes glitter slightly before he delivers the blow of the punchline, taking great pleasure in pushing as many boundaries as he can. He preempts any disdain by saying ‘if you don’t like it, just stay quiet’ and manages to get away with some hilarious jabs at Christianity.
Some of his funniest lines were around gentrification of black neighbourhoods, making asides to ‘white girls being the most gangsta’, as they dress rescued pitbulls in cute sweaters and boots for Instagram, and baristas converting entire neighbourhoods from ‘sketchy’ to ‘cool’ just by their very presence. The material is rooted in his American experience, but recognizable enough to tickle a British audience in all the right places.
He finished by skilfully playing around with gender roles and sex, pitting men against women; playing up to the crowd with ‘it hurts when you call us a creep, when really it’s you women who are the creeps”, and had the crowd cracking up as he invited them to view vibrators and premature ejaculation in a new light. Not for the easily offended; but he had the whole crowd smiling with him until the end. Even the hecklers were gentle; egging him on to give us more of his cheeky but hard-hitting stance on life.  When you’re still chuckling to yourself at some of the jokes on the way home, you know you’ve seen a great show. FOUR STARS
Reviewer: Lisa Williams

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