Pretending To Smoke With a Breadstick, Joel Dommett ****

Joel Dommett poster

Joel Dommett is going all out this year, throwing everything into this high energy hour filled with eccentric anecdotes, props and audience interaction. This year’s show is extremely well structured, using a variety of techniques to lift his audience and take them on a crazy ride. It begins with us literally accompanying him to the gig via a brilliantly thought out combination of ego, video and an audience ‘volunteer’. The ego element is revisited later, making these opening moments especially amusing. 

With yet another off the wall title, the ‘breadstick’ metaphor in this year's show refers to the satisfaction Dommett feels when delivering a pay off, even if it's preconceived. Returning to his audience accomplice, we are treated to an example of this through a gloriously funny exchange in which he utters a gem of a put down in response to a pre-prepared insult, punctuating it with a typically ‘not quite genuinely arrogant’ microphone drop. Dommett is too much of a nice guy to actually hurt the audience member’s feelings, or indeed risk breaking the mic! This moment is constructed perfectly in how it represents the comedian’s persona so accurately, not that the audience weren't already completely on side. 

The most startling, ‘rock-star’ moment of the show comes in the form of a song complete with lighting, disco-ball, wind machine, proclaiming Dommett ‘Laserdick’; an extravaganza that feels as ‘Classic Dommett’  as you're likely to get. This is a comedian who is unafraid of looking daft, in fact at times it feels as though this is where he is most at home! His youthful exuberance, most obviously manifested in his slightly manic, elevated vocal tone, is infectious and brings out our own silly side. There's a genuine sense of collective experience in Dommett’s gigs which can only come from the energy he generates amongst his audience. This year he manages to get the entire audience performing a rousing rendition of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’!

We hear about a cringeworthy event during a period of ‘singledom’, and an awkward incident where Dommett was ‘catfished’ as a result of a Twitter connection and a Skype call, such are the unfortunate cons of celebrity. It all leads to the question of how much of a set involves the comedian telling the truth, the details of which I'm keeping ‘mum’. For someone who loves to exaggerate, this section of the set was always going to have to be addressed in an extravagant manner. Having set up the idea of lying during his stand-up, we are taken through not only a list of the set we have just seen, and a hark back to the video that opened the show, but also edited highlights of Dommett’s appearance on Russell Howard’s Good News; complete with a physical reenactment of the set, whilst our host points out that pretty much all of the material was constructed from a series of elaborate lies!

If you're looking for a show with variety and a touch of pizazz, Dommett’s your guy. A highly enjoyable escape with an accessible, effortlessly charming entertainer. 

Joel Dommett is appearing at the Pleasance Courtyard until 27th August.