Jem Brookes: Thumbs Up

Review by Roxane Hudon | 07 Aug 2012
  • Jem Brookes

The affable, and often a bit awkward, Jem Brookes invites you to join him for a pint or two, while he chats up the audience and dishes out one-liners. Having never seen him before, I don’t know what to expect, except for the bartender promising he’d be a “good chat.”

While his banter certainly puts the crowd in good spirits, especially a gang of people from Airdrie who quickly become the butt of many jokes, some of his one-liners go straight over people’s heads or inspire a few grunts. But it’s all in good fun, as Brookes is the first to poke fun at himself whenever a joke bombs. Clever and friendly, he’s a difficult comedian to dislike, even though some of his lines may make you cringe, or laugh two minutes later when you finally get it.

It could be an uncomfortable show to watch with a different, less responsive audience, but people today are warm and having a good time with Brookes who even pauses his show to allow us to get another round. Engaging and intelligent, he'll make you feel like you're having a drink with your weird uncle who loves puns (in a good way).

Jem Brookes: Thumbs Up, Espionage, until 26 Aug, 4.45pm, free http://www.freefestival.co.uk