Andy Kindler: The Ugly America Tour

Andy Kindler: The Ugly America Tour
Andy Kindler: The Ugly America Tour
September 6th – 15th, 2018
Soho Theatre, London

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by Alex Plant

It’s difficult to even know how to review an Andy Kindler show. A comedian’s comedian through and through, his shows are as much a dissection of the art of comedy as they are an example of it. Sure, it’s funny, but it’s also fascinating and likely to be one the most memorable stand-up experiences you’ll ever have.

Theres’s self-deprecation, and then there’s Andy Kindler. From the moment he walks out on stage, he draws attention to the fact that there are a few empty seats, and you can’t tell whether he’s disappointed by it or glad that’s it’s given him such an excellent ice-breaker after a ten year absence from the UK. He jokes that his last tour was called the “Half a House Tour” and compares himself to a restaurant you wouldn’t eat at, after getting a three-and-a-half-star review. He’s open about his OCD and how it effects his act and constantly comments that he feels the audience are giving him “begrudging” or “residual” laughs, and it’s entirely endearing.

Louis C.K. and Hitler are the double-act you didn’t know you needed in your life, but it’s Kindler’s scorn towards these two men that illustrates both how timeless and topical he can be. That being said, he’s quick to remind the audience that he’d been a critic of C.K. since “before I even knew who he was.”

The jokes are good, but it’s his habit of deconstruction that often gets the biggest laughs and this is Kindler’s trademark. Sometimes he’ll abandon a joke midway through and analyse its imminent failure, or he’ll inform you that a story he’s telling didn’t actually happen, two sentences in. If material doesn’t land, he’ll break down why, or in some cases push it even further. For instance, he’ll reference Dane Cook for a joke, then acknowledge that perhaps Cook is a bit obscure to a British audience, so asks them to imagine the even-less-familiar-to-most-Brits Bill Maher. It’d be easy to criticise this seemingly non-tailoring of material to a London audience, but it’s this sort of self-sabotage that he’s become known for and those that get it, love it.

It’s easy to see why Kindler is so revered by his peers and it’s a rare treat that he’s on our shores. If you have any interest in stand-up comedy, then you owe it to yourself to see this show.


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