FringeGuru.com / Review / Writing: Journalism

Kent Valentine: How to Love Everyone (Even the Arseholes) (****1/2)

The GRV (venue details)
6 – 30 Aug (not 18), 9:20pm (10:20pm)

The stereotypical image of an Aussie comic is a loud, aggressive braggart, so it is refreshing to see an Australian stand-up who is just delightfully charming. Kent Valentine couples this charm with a refreshing and bouncy wit, which makes for a really lovely stand-up set, and an enjoyable and hilarious evening.

Valentine’s set is a pleasant mixture of story-telling and stand-up. He exudes friendliness and confidence, and the jokes and set-ups, all excellently done and very well performed, come fast and fresh – cushioned by longer humorous stories. The style is rambling and charming, and the whole audience bounce along happily with him. What Valentine seems to have grasped beautifully is how to stand in front of an audience and deliver his anecdotes, but still involve us in his conversation as if we were responding to a friend in a pub. This sort of performance is rare, with today’s generation of comedians getting more and more aloof, distant and aggressive, and is excellent to watch.

Unfortunately, Valentine’s approach is not a style that deals with hecklers well, and he let one go on for a little long. In the process, he did get some excellent material out of the heckler and her sister, but I just wanted him to snap a little earlier. Maybe you can take friendliness too far!

That’s a small complaint, though. The material here is excellent, the jokes well tied together and referenced later, and the whole concept is another example of Valentine’s niceness. It’s all about everyone giving a little love to arseholes (and yeah, that got a laugh every time), and by doing so making the world a better place: it’s a beautiful sentiment, if not mental image, and a very good message for a stand-up show. Valentine has nailed performance and substance, and is easily more charming and funnier than a lot of the stand-up out there! Spread the love (but nothing else) and go see the nicer face of Australia.

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