I adore musical comedy an enormous amount, which makes me something of a minority, at least with my comedy loving friends and judging by the ratings for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Galavant (both of which should have been two of the most popular tv shows ever made given how amazing they are). But every so often a bit of musical comedy hits home with the world, well, it happened with La La Land at least, and over the past few years there’s been a bit of a resurgence in the genre and a fair amount of musical comedians have taken to the stage.
Unfortunately Gareth Cooper is an example of why many people aren’t particularly fond of comedians with a guitar, perhaps he’ll get there one day but I’m not convinced that will take place any time soon. It’s not that the songs are bad or offensive, they’re just mediocre, they have the occasional amusing idea and the odd funny line but there’s nothing here that you’ll find yourself humming for days on end or even remember five minutes after the show has finished. Many of them contain a common trait of initially sounding innocent but then having a twist, something which has been done far too many times before and can also be seen coming from several million miles away.
Especially weak is a song for the underachievers where he begins with “We may not finish everything…” and then stops singing, it’s an incredibly lazy idea and though it might not have been done in song form before it’s been done in pretty much every other type of comedy. There’s also a number where he suggests that if you don’t get a job promotion you should get your dick out, because that’s what a post Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe did on stage, it doesn’t really make much sense and though he addresses the fact that of course you shouldn’t do such a thing in reality it doesn’t make up for how unfunny the song is.
Outdated references are always a questionable thing in comedy and often date it incredibly quickly, and though this show was made in 2015 this applies to a song about Flashmobs, with the twist in the song being that you shouldn’t have such a thing at a funeral. It’s so obvious it’s beyond bland, and the same applies to a song about wanting his girlfriend’s father to like him, though if he’s ever seen any of Cooper’s comedy that’s unlikely to happen. He even manages to make shock comedy boring, in a song where he moans about people talking about their babies all the time and how he wants to kill children the potential for hilarity is there but the lyrics and delivery are poor and so it didn’t cause me to laugh once.
To be fair Cooper does have a couple of okay songs, with one likeable number sung in the style of The National which initially seems to be about a break up but is actually about Zach Snyder directing a sequel to Man Of Steel, it’s a cute concept and I did find it appealing, but when he delivers the punchline it ends all too quickly. Also vaguely fine is a the track he ends with about how he wouldn’t sacrifice his life for a lover, in fact the opposite applies as he’d push someone in front of a zombie / alien if it saved his life, but both only made me smile rather than laugh out loud.
This review might seem overtly harsh but many of the songs sound too similar, there isn’t any real playfulness when it comes to the musical side of things, and lyrically they’re either predictable or mundane. This is a genre I love to pieces so I find it frustrating that his work is so stale and stodgy, it’s not quite of the standard of a comic at a bad open mic night but at best he’s the kind of comedian who’d be first on at a mixed bill and perhaps do two or three songs which you might not dislike. But spread over the course of an hour it’s repetitious and wearisome, and unfortunately Mishmash is easily one of the weakest shows on the normally fantastic NextUp streaming service.