Benjamin Crellin’s brand of comedy is mainly observational, sometimes shocking, often funny and always energetic. Opening to an almost empty room, it wasn’t hard to feel sorry for Benjamin and to admire his bravery and oomph from beginning of his set. He opened with some great gags, taking us through his thoughts on modern life, the Olympics, some obviously recycled material about last years riots, obesity, video gaming and much more. He kept the audience connected, didn’t dwell too long on any one topic and kept his flow very well considering the amount of empty seats that might have put off a lesser comic.
Having said that, there were some quite awkward moments. He had a habit of looking directly into each of our eyes and holding them there for just a moment too long which meant a subtle cough or seat shift was needed to break the tension. Perhaps he did this on purpose, but in an already somewhat awkward situation it didn’t help relax the audience.
Although he had some nice insights on modern life, his observations were not exactly original. Some of his material was bland and quite uninspired. The highlights of his show were the physical moments; eating day old burger king whilst playing video games, animal gesturing and hilarious facial expressions which really gave the whole audience the giggles.
One big issue I had with Benjamin was that he was obviously trying to use shocking jokes to get a laugh and with an already uncomfortable audience, they fell flat. Rape jokes aren’t funny, especially when they’re directed at one audience member in particular. It was only when he was clutching at straws that he pulled these unnecessarily outrageous gags out of his arsenal which revealed his weaknesses as a stand up all too clearly. In desperation, he tried to place judgment onto the audience by asking why we found it easy to ignore sexual abuse but not talk about it. To this I will reply, we don’t find it easy to ignore sexual abusers and most of us actively protest against it. Talking about something of this nature in a way that is respectful to its victims and joking about it without any sensitivity whatsoever are two very different things.
Over all, I did enjoy Benjamin Crellin’s set but there were too many glaring errors to overlook and too many moments of awkwardness to ignore. He was fun, often quite funny and his delivery was very good. He needed to work on his content more than anything and with so many comics at the Fringe, there needed to be more than just a funny man with a few good gags to make him stand out from the crowd.
Benjamin Crellin: Stands To Reason [Comedy]
Tuesday 14 August 7:35pm to Saturday 25 August 2012
Cabaret Voltaire, 36 Blair Street Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH1 1QR