Why do we believe the things that we believe, that is the premise of veteran Fringe comedian Jimmy Hogg’s newest stand-up show wisdom: part one. Hogg’s own description from his flyer is also an accurate depiction of the way that his performance unfolds, “part autobiography, part social commentary and part completely unrelated tangential nonsense.”
Jimmy Hogg is an awkwardly charming performer who has a dorky affinity for the films Highlander and The Goonies. It is clear that those who share this particular brand of enthusiasm for these films will find his long tirades about them hilarious. Those who do not know what he is talking about find the humour in how charming it is to watch an endearingly awkward guy be so passionate and precise about the obscure facts of these movies. His point, ultimately, however, is the idea of immortality, and how as a child he used to wish for this power because he considered it to be the most desirable feat in the world. This consideration of internal life quickly turns into Hogg’s musings on the ideas about death, about Heaven and about Hell as believed by an array of different religions of the world.
Jimmy Hogg is a smart comedian, and his perceptions are astute, at times bordering on intellectual. His ideas are certainly interesting, although not revolutionary, but his punch lines are not quite clever enough to warrant side splitting and raucous bouts of laughter. At the same time, wisdom: part one, is Hogg’s opportunity to test drive his newest material for the first time, so things are being constantly developed and each show is constantly in motion, and morphing into something stronger based on his particular audience.
I think Hogg could benefit from being braver with his material. Religion and strongly held beliefs are a prime mining ground for comic absurdity, and I don’t think that he needs to be so afraid of assassination plots by religious zealots. Great comedy is about pushing boundaries, bravely venturing into unchartered waters and committing with charm to every punch line. He is wonderful at endearing himself to the audience and I think they will follow him even into murky, potentially controversial territory, especially if he keeps giving them Freezies in the sweltering heat.
wisdom: part one plays at the Bathurst Culture, Arts Media & Education Centre (918 Bathurst Street) at the following times:
Fri, July 9 8:00 PM
Sat, July 10 9:30 PM
Sun, July 11 5:30 PM
all tickets $10 at the door or book in advance by calling the fringe hotline at 416.966.1062 or go online at http://www.fringetoronto.com/.