Stand Up Special Review: Seymour Mace – Shit Title

seymour mace

GoFasterStripe is a pretty damn amazing company which has been recording stand up shows for just under fifteen years now, releasing the comedy they find funny and nothing else. It’s led me to discover and fall in love with a variety of comedians and last year they began their Singles Club service where for five pounds a month you get every new release plus a choice of three of the shows from their catalogue.

It was the existence of Seymour Mace’s show from 2016, Shit Title, that led me to sign up as I’d heard so much about the man, with many of my friends telling me over and over again how much I’d love him as they knew I was a big fan of unconventional comedy and Mace certainly performs such a thing, there can be no doubt about that. Unfortunately Shit Title is something of a curate’s egg, beautifully funny in places but slightly dull and nothing-y in others which is quite frustrating.

We’ll start with the good stuff first – early on in the set he performs a montage of the past year which begins with the song “You’re The Best” playing but then quickly becomes miserable as “The Loneliest Man In The World” replaces it and we learn about how shitty the other eleven months were due to Mace using a variety of props. Also really fun is Mace presenting a bastardised version of the once popular BBC game show The Generation Game as he dresses up as former host Bruce Forsythe and drags two members of the public to join in and asks them questions like “What’s the world coming to?” and “What’s a good name for a dog?”

Alas after that the show kind of runs out of steam, it’s a ramshackle piece where there’s some nice ideas and parts which have the potential to be funny but Mace doesn’t do enough with them. So at one point he introduces a “Shit Character” which is a man with mannequin hands, and does a bit of a rubbish dance, and then shortly afterwards he plays a French children’s song while cutting up some cute cuddly toys, I’m incredibly fond of prop comedy but both sections feel lazy, so much more could have been done with them but he takes the easy way out by hoping he can get by on audience goodwill.

He also talks about his depression at several points and of course gains sympathy, but many comedians suffer from the condition and explore it in fascinating ways. Mace is not one of those comedians though, he plays yet another song and changes the words from “And I’m feeling good” to “And I’m feeling…not too special” which raises a smile but once again makes me feel like he could have done so much more with the idea. The same applies with his campaign to bring back the name Gary, which he feels Gary Glitter has ruined, and though it contains a fun drawing there’s not enough to it to make it laugh out loud material.

The final fifteen minutes include tales of failed romances as he talks about a brief relationship which went wrong as she didn’t mention she already had a boyfriend, and then a date where the woman supposedly contacted the police afterwards as she didn’t want him to go near her ever again, with Mace bewildered as to why. So he acts out the date which means playing yet another bloody song, this time using puppets to mime along to it, before cutting his penis in half. Or a sausage that looked a bit like a penis at least. Again there’s potential here, but it just feels half arsed, like Mace thought “Ah, that’ll do”, rather than thinking about what could have been hilariously funny. Then right at the end he sings one final song while throwing around inflatable bananas and handing out the curved yellow fruit to most of the audience, admitting at one point “Sorry, I’m terrible at ending shows” and he’s not wrong in the slightest.

It’s probably more fun if you’re actually there in the room with him, but even then the audience reaction is muted throughout with only a few segments getting big laughs, so I could easily be wrong about this. In a video from 2014 Mace had a rant at how shit critics are, and he may have a point about some, I don’t know them all, but if he’s prepared to put out stuff like this and charge £12 for the dvd version then I think it’s only fair that people are allowed to give their honest opinions. I really wanted to like it, hell, I expected too, so it’s incredibly frustrating that Shit Title is only occasionally funny, and the rest of the time all a bit weak.

Alex Finch.

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