The Humorist. Russell Kane
Benjamin White has created a killer joke. The critic who cannot laugh, born with a straight face and an inability for natural mirth but an eye that can dissect a comic as he reviews countless stand-ups finally bursts into laughter.
Kane is at his best when describing the inside of the Comedy Store with its nervous wannabee comics, hen parties and floppy haired jokers. He has the smells, the egos, the put downs, the clichéd jokes down to the last laugh.
He writes of the Comedy store’s Gong Night when hopeful comedians have a chance to entertain a bear pit of drunks in their quest for fame: “At this point the hopefuls, filed along the right flank of the audience, usually stiffened and paced and sipped at water, but not so much tonight.” And: “There can be anything up to thirty trembling, shifty rookies awaiting their execution before the gong.”
And then there are his eye-wateringly accurate descriptions of business meetings in which so-called creative thinkers come up with ideas for the next company project. Pretentious people we all love to hate.
Writing in the first person we get a Benjamin White view of the world. A bitter and twisted character who ultimately commits murder in the most hilarious of ways. Consumed with hatred of the talents of others Benjamin makes for an engaging if lavatorial villain and vicious observer of his fellow humans.
Filled with cutting, bitchy and always amusing observations the comedy critic takes us through his life from painful birth to his final masterpiece of mass destruction with just one flaw: we don’t identify with him and we don’t like him. He’s just not a protagonist we can warm to – and that’s Kane’s point.
Harry Mottram