Save the Whales… and Noel James!

Standup Comedy can be brutal if the audience is not well suited to the performance. And it was for that reason that Welsh comedian Noel James had a bit of a rough-n’-tumble time in his first show at the Living Room on Friday night as he performed for his quiet audience of eight. James has performed shows all over the world and it is not that his show isn’t funny; it just requires the adrenaline of a crowd to keep its heart pumping and its energy flowing.
Noel James’ standup routine is funny, but more than being necessarily “hysterical,” it is clever. The show is built on words and how letters can be swapped to create puns and witticisms that don’t always make one guffaw loudly. Yet, there is a quieter appreciation, often, for the cleverness involved in this sort of complex word play, and sometimes, I found, that his wit was so sharp yet so subtle that it took a moment for my brain to draw the connection required for the punch line.
James himself reminded me of a subdued Robin Williams; which doesn’t mean that he is not exuberant or spontaneous, he just doesn’t have quite the power and punch of Williams, but then again, who does? Still, he had the same wacky personality, one that entertains on-end with an array of voices and sounds that seem to be channeled in from another time and place.
He is also Welsh, so there is a lot of Welsh and British humour, some of which didn’t register with the Canadian audience, but most of which, we were able to appreciate and found immensely interesting. Who knew “sheepshagger” was a common insult? James even sang Jimi Hendrix in Welsh. Awesome! He can also do a fantastic Robert DeNiro impression without making a sound, although I think his Michael Jackson jokes are coming a mite too soon.
Halifax audiences are polite, they will not heckle you even if they are asked repeatedly to do so (unless they are drunk). Halifax audiences tend to be quietly respectful, and that often does not reflect the amount of appreciation they have for any particular performance. If you enjoy Standup Comedy, however, especially if you are a person who typically watches Just For Laughs and the Comedy Network, I would implore you to head out to see James’ show—he needs a good strong audience, I think, to truly lift his show into the realm where it belongs.

Wit and The Word Play of Whales is Parental Guidance, $10.00.

Schedule: September 5, The Living Room (2353 Agricola Street) @ 4:20 PM. September 6, The Living Room @ 1:20 PM, The Living Room @ 9:10 PM. September 7, The Living Room @ 6:50 PM. September 8, The Living Room @ 7:50 PM. September 9, The Living Room @ 8:00 PM. September 12, The Living Room @ 8:00 PM. September 13, The Living Room @ 6:30 PM.

Leave a Reply