Soho Theatre, London, 05/11/2018
The first time I saw Jordan Brookes it what was part of a mixed bill along with Kevin Eldon and Sara Pascoe and despite loving those two comedians an enormous amount he was the funniest performer that night. It was only a 20 minute set but it blew me away, and convinced me I needed to see much more of him, and as soon as possible. So I signed up to NextUp to watch his second show, The Making Of, and was even more impressed by it’s delightful lunacy, and bought tickets for his third, Body of Work, almost immediately. I have to confess that I preferred The Making Of very slightly, but both were examples of a comedian at pretty much the top of his game.
The same applies with Bleed, bar that he’s even more confident than he was previously, and it’s an hour of unexpected oddness and silliness along with the occasionally slightly disturbing moment. Well, depending on whether you enjoy watching a man fake an orgasm on stage at least. Brookes starts off with a low key introduction off stage where he admits the falseness of doing such a thing before entering the room and chatting to the audience. What might seem initially to be minor conversation actually ties in to the rest of the show effectively, and he’s very funny from the get go. After a short while he discusses the fact that he’s newly single, and comments on the death of the relationship he was recently in, but every so often stops to insult parts of the audience. Doing such a thing can alienate a crowd but he does it so skilfully that you can’t help but laugh, and he’s clearly very talented at judging how far to go and whether or not he’s crossed a specific line. He’s also strong when it comes to the physical side of comedy, knowing how to use his body and facial expressions to unnerve and amuse and it’s a captivating performance, he’s never less than fascinating to watch.
Half way through the show everything becomes much more surreal, though I won’t spoil what happens as that would ruin the effect of the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. But I will say that it’s the kind of comedy fuckery that reminded me of Chris Morris, which is about the highest praise I could ever give anyone. He’s not quite at the level of my comedy hero just yet but this show certainly suggests he’s on the right track and the more playful he becomes the higher the chance that he’ll one day soon be up there with the very best comedians in the country. The only thing that’s preventing him doing so right now is that I couldn’t help but feel that the show slightly lacked substance. It’s enormously funny stuff from start to finish but at the end of it I felt like I wished I’d known a bit more about that failed relationship, a bit more about the inner workings of Jordan’s mind, and if that had been included this would have been a five star review. As it is you get something which will make you laugh out loud a great deal though, so perhaps I’m being churlish by complaining about such a thing.
It was an hour which flew by, when it came to an end I was genuinely surprised and thought it had only been about forty minutes at best but a quick check proved that it had been an hour indeed, which is all to Brookes’ credit as some hour long shows drag and this was quite the opposite. It left me wanting more, and I’ll definitely be seeing whatever he creates next. It’s unconventional stand up but if you like your comedy to be unpredictable and surprising and also occasionally unsettling you should seek him out as soon as you can.