Having recently interviewed Andy for this site I have to confess to having some concerns that I might not enjoy him live, and thus would feel terribly guilty about writing a negative review, what with my being an annoyingly polite British type. At the beginning of the hour Andy mentioned a couple of negative reviews as well, which didn’t assuage fears, but I’ve no idea what those critics were thinking as this was a superb show from start to finish. Like a comedy tornado Kindler spins from one subject to the next with incredible speed, with an impressive amount of jokes every single minute. Admittedly he starts in a fairly calm manner, ridiculing the Red Bull drink that he’s sipping from and coming up with some beautifully negative advertising slogans, before talking about Edinburgh and mocking the current trend for themed shows and emotional aspects in them. Taking the idea of a man struck by the tragedy of never having eaten cheese in his life, it’s something he returns to at several different points in the show which becomes increasingly funny. And once he gets going the gag rate is truly remarkable.
He also has a fantastic line in self-deprecation, commenting on the fact that the show was only half full on this particular night, mentioning how he prefers it this way, and that he calls it the “Half a House” tour, and how he likes playing to rooms like this as it allows audience members to put their coats on the seat next to them and bags on the other. In the hands of other comedians it might sound like sour grapes, but Andy pulls it off with aplomb and it removes any possible discomfort over the fact that for some unknown reason the gig wasn’t sold out. I can only imagine it’s down to audiences having post-Edinburgh fatigue (something I suffered from after going to the festival a few years back after seeing a ridiculous amount of comedians in a short space of time) as it’s without doubt a show which deserves to be fully booked each and every night.
Peppered throughout the evening is the idea that he’s a comedy pioneer, where Kindler pretends he’s the first person to do a number of things, including coining the phrase “Am I right, ladies?” and crediting himself as the first comedian to notice the differences between men and women – Women often go to the toilet in pairs, whereas men are verbally abusive, and sometimes physically – with a wry smile he’s able to explore darker territories but still make the audience laugh hard. Material on his medical issues follows, including a segment on sleep apnoea which I found hilarious, and I suffer from the condition as well so it’s sometimes a sore spot. But Kindler handles it with consummate skill, subverting expectations with ease. He does the same when talking about his OCD, mentioning how varied the condition can be, and in his case it concerns intrusive thoughts, and how he worries he might be the Golden State Killer despite never having murdered anyone. Also covered is his daily fear that he might have run someone over, to the extent of calling the police to check, even though he’d only hit a pebble.
As with his annual State of the Industry Address he’s unafraid to tackle issues with other comedians as well, including a timely piece on Louis CK (along with how Andy disliked him even before the recent incident) and how disingenuous his apology was, and considering the nature of his offences it really shouldn’t have included the word dick in it. Also targeted is Chris Rock, where he suggests that whilst he performs for an hour, he only actually has half an hour’s material as he says everything twice. Now I like Chris Rock an awful lot, but I can’t deny that it’s not true.
He dips his toe briefly in to political matters, with a strong impression of Trump and a great line about Trump-centration camps, and how “he’d get the jews to pay for them”, though before anyone’s outraged it should be pointed out that Kindler is Jewish himself. There’s also material on one particularly horrific American politician visiting Auschwitz six times, which is very funny if also all rather disturbing as I worry Kindler’s comment that “He’s taking notes” may not be too far away from the truth.
There’s the odd joke which doesn’t get a huge reaction, including a bit on Podcast adverts about Squarespace and having meals delivered that people have to cook themselves (which only about four people in the audience got and shamefully as I don’t listen to many podcasts I was among them, but when my partner explained it on the way home I laughed an embarrassing amount considering we were on public transport), but whenever a joke fails to land it doesn’t matter as Andy comments on it and soon gets everyone laughing again.
It’d be a lie to say I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much as I was fortunate enough to catch Michael Brunstrom’s superb The Great Fire Of London recently, but whilst they’re very different types of shows they’re equally as funny, and I left the Soho theatre with my cheeks aching as I’d been laughing so much, which is always a sign of a comedian at the very top of their game.