Review: Pleasure Enthusiast – James Smith
James Smith may profess to be lazy, but his comedy isn’t. Smith’s humour is dry, and he delivers it in a relatively monotone voice, sitting almost entirely still. The dead pan delivery makes the cutting social commentary, raunchy punchlines, and outright sass that much funnier.
The relatively still delivery lends itself to the occasional over the top eye roll or expression of disdain that Smith uses sparingly. Even with very little movement, and delivering a relatively quiet show –the audience hung off his every joke.
Fully embracing the grumpy old man within, Smith can be self-debasing, but he’s just as critical of those around him. Tackling topics like child birth, marriage, and sex, Smith doesn’t use cynicism and confronting jokes as a band-aid for weak content – his material is undeniably clever, and kept the audience on the hook waiting to see what would come next for the whole show.
From our conflicting and hypocritical views on which things we consume need to be organic, to the conditioning we experience that we seldom question, Smith had a joke about it all. It was an interesting night, with the audience forced to consider some serious topics before being blindsided with yet another witty joke.
Smith has a habit of following an ‘I can’t believe he just said that’ joke, with a wry smile and just getting on with it. The show is full of explicit content – definitely not a show to accidentally bring the kids to – but it never felt like just a cheap laugh. Despite the very adult content, Smith’s wit stops the jokes descending into mere smutty humour – every joke or story has several layers of humour and critique worked through it. Smith uses a good mix of raunchy humour along with other jokes about work and life to stop it getting plain bawdy. On not inviting your kids, it’s probably for the best as Smith confesses he would be a bad influence. A refreshing perspective on adult authority and how we get to live our lives, Smith is quiet anarchy in the making.
Pleasure Enthusiast is a pleasure to watch – Smith’s dry humour is refreshing, and the audience loved his shockingly hilarious material.
Pleasure Enthusiast is on at Trades Hall until 22 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets, show details and accessibility information are available via the MICF website.