Ben Van der Velde @ Laughing Horse, Espionage

Decent stand-up about race and religion

Review by Polly Glynn | 14 Aug 2017
  • Ben Van der Velde

There’s hecklers in. Not nasty ones; just ones that can’t hold their booze or their tongue. Van der Velde is rightly irked, as is the rest of the crowd. As the set begins, the hecklers’ cries for involvement reaches crescendo. Van der Velde satisfyingly shuts them up (for now) with a fun jibe about them ‘jizzing crayons’.

But it doesn't derail the hour. There’s some well-trodden Jewish stereotypes smartly worked into a piece of social commentary and dark fun-poking at why some relatives can’t accept a wedding invitation. There’s also, however, some a few dodgy accents and material about Isis that doesn’t seem to gel with the rest of the set, while the religious material seems overlong. 

Van der Velde’s clearly an experienced comic whose audience interaction works a treat. Upon discovering a 7ft Stonemason is the hecklers’ minder, the comedian works him into the show, drawing comparisons of ‘David and Goliath’ which flows into the rest of his set and more than once he puts the relentless, childish hecklers in their place.

Ben Van der Velde: Sidekick, Laughing Horse at Espionage (Pravda), 3-27 Aug (not 15), 8.45pm, free