Thursday, August 06, 2009

Fringe 2009 - Review - Animal Cracker Genocide - 5 stars

Stand-Up Comedy That Doesn't Make You Feel Dirty (well, not too dirty)

"Adorable, tasty carnage"

Ben San Del

Animal Cracker Genocide

First yardstick for reviewing stand-up comedy for the Fringe - is it funny?

If the show is Animal Cracker Genocide from returning favorite Ben San Del, the answer is...

Yes. Very much yes.

Second rule of measure - does the show have a recognizable structure, rather than being just a random series of jokes? Again, for this show...

Yup. The show has built-in callbacks to earlier bits which make for a very cagey structure for the hour. Ben riffs off his audience and rides the waves of their ever-changing responses. But he's got a destination all mapped out, and in the guise of a laidback guy in no rush whatsoever, he gently guides us where he intends to go.

I will never hear the song "Happy Birthday To You" in the same way, ever again.

Nor will Mom.

At birthday parties, we will be the two people giggling inappropriately.

Speaking of inappropriate...

Standard number three - is the stand-up comedy routine relying solely on bathroom humor to jolt some laughs out of an audience that should know better, and then will feel a little ashamed of themselves afterward?

Nope. Oh, there are dick jokes, and bits which take place in bathrooms, but Animal Cracker Genocide is built more on those quirky insights you wish you had the presence of mind to come up with yourself. So you could be the funny person at the party.

Whether he's talking about trombones, seatbelts, depression, getting the wrong word stuck in his head (agnostic rather than autistic), flirting, or a dozen other topics, Ben San Del is looking at it from a slightly off-kilter place that makes the absurdities of everyday life seem that much more worthy of mock.

One of my favorite ideas was his notion of a 30 second erase button, so you could go back in time and take back something you said and start over, hopefully with better results. The routine Ben built off that was funny, but what was even funnier was when a later joke stumbled. He got out that 30 second erase button to use on the audience.

Though he has strange ideas about countdowns at crosswalks, and probably shouldn't be allowed to negotiate with a police officer on your behalf, comedian Ben San Del is definitely your ticket for comedy at the Fringe.

His performances have been selling out, so even though he has three here in the home stretch of final weekend at the Fringe, don't take any chances. Make those reservations and get there early. He's worth the extra effort if you need a laugh. And don't we all?

His website -

His show page

His Fringe-For-All preview

Fringe 2009 - 7:00 Monday - show #24

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