Soho Theatre, Soho, London, 23/01/2020.
This will probably be the last chance you get to see Garrett Millerick in a relatively intimate venue as he’s recently appeared on Conan in the US, and both this and his previous show Sunflower have been critically acclaimed, and understandably so with the latter receiving a four star review from this website last year. That show is heavily referenced here as well as just before he took it to Edinburgh his wife almost died and so it was heavily rewritten to incorporate how that event had affected him.
Now tv producer’s want another tragedy infused show from him, which Millerick is understandably horrified by given that they suggest that even if nothing has gone wrong in his life he just fakes it. Thankfully for us he refuses to do such a shitty thing, and instead devotes the hour to just trying to make us smile and laugh, which given the world in 2020 is something everyone clearly needs. So what we get over the course of the show is a selection of disparate but very funny stories, and it’s no worse off for that, indeed it might even be better for it as “Dead Dad” shows have been done to, well, death, and though comedy with a serious edge can be extremely effective sometimes all you want to do is laugh without feeling slightly miserable by the end.
Millerick leaps from story to story with aplomb then, one moment he’s discussing why his wife can’t join in with his attempts to lose weight with fellow comedian Rich Wilson because of the mean ways they mock each other, but then he’s talking about why space tourism is most likely going to be a terrible thing and provides a very funny suggestion as to what hen and stag do’s on the moon might be like. There’s also gags about Trump which are genuinely funny rather than hackneyed and trite like 99% of the ones I’ve heard, and two great routines about Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares and Men Behaving Badly, the latter exploring just how hideously the BBC’s once much loved sitcom has aged.
During a couple of sections Millerick clearly likes to play Devil’s Advocat, commenting that while when it came to Brexit he voted to Remain but now he wants us to leave because of the way “Remoaners” have acted online, but though I disagree with the sentiment he’s such a skilled comic that he manages to make it funny. There’s one instance where he fails on this front though, and unfortunately it comes right at the end when he suggests that it’s women who are to blame for climate change due to the amount of clothes they only wear once, and the amount of make up and hair care products they buy that comes in plastic bottles, and the way it’s phrased is oddly misguided and misjudged.
If it had been a segment in the middle of the show it might not have been such an issue, but for him to end on such a rant meant the show came to a close in a slightly disheartening manner. So I hope Millerick recognises the lack of a reaction from the majority of the audience and changes it, as otherwise Smile is a fantastic piece of comedy, packed with some extremely funny ideas and stories which Millerick mines to hilarious effect.
Garrett Millerick is at the Soho Theatre until Saturday, and then will be touring Smile across the UK, further information and ticket details can be found here: https://www.garrettmillerick.com/