August 1-25 (19:45)
Material: Delivery: Laughs:
Langston Kerman’s show is titled Loose Cannon, but it’s really all about about paradoxes. The impossibility of being a ‘creepy man’ and a feminist, of being a black man with the privilege of a white father who pays your phone bills, and the paradox of being a very intelligent, very funny former English teacher whose best material is good old-fashioned filth. Ultimately though, it’s a paradox at the heart of Langston’s performance, which is his undoing.
Charm exudes from this 32 year old man-child. He enters the stage beaming, he oozes charisma, but within 5 minutes the Friday night fringe crowd begins to work on his nerves. This is where Langston comes into his element. He’s effortlessly confident in chopping chatters, texters, and downright morons down to size. He’s sharp, cutting and no nonsense, and this is why around half of his show just doesn’t quite work. When throwing out jokes about the ultimate marriage compromise of ‘eating ass’, or riffing on the inherently sexy nature of M&M’s with eyelashes, he is in full flow and very, very, funny. However he leads up to the intensely dark content of the middle section by apologising to the audience and providing a near 5 minute lead in excusing what he’s about to share. This ‘flatmate from hell tale,’ about a conscientious tenant with a criminal hobby, would have been very funny indeed if he’d simply dived on in and delivered it with the confidence and gravitas he displayed in spades during audience interaction. Instead he loses the crowd, which is a shame, as material this dark requires incredible courage to perform.
Around a third of his material is based around his perceived ineptness, and insecurities, around his relationship with ‘The best thing that ever happened to him’, his soon to be wife. He portrays himself as a classic example of arrested development, but this clashes with the rest of his material, and the aspects of his persona which are irrepressible. His natural charm and effortless bantering seem at odds with the man-child we are being verbally presented with. He is a talent, that’s for sure. I would however love to see him perform the same set with the confidence, and arrogance, that a potential heavyweight observational comedian throws in the face of his audience from the word go. Or simpler, just pick which Langston Kerman he wants to be.