Last year, Brendon Burns won the if.comedy award for his stand-up show after years of being at the Fringe, playing in small venues and with a reputation for being a not-very-notable shock merchant who frequently crossed the line between ironic and just wantonly offensive. Last year, he says, was a product of getting rid of his drug habit and making his show more consistently professional, and coming up with a slick, tight set. This year, he says, is “a thank-you” to the people who supported him throughout his career. Unfortunately, that seems to mean that he’s slid backwards a bit; this year’s show was a little bit flabby and, to me anyway, the material was nothing special. There are moments of brilliance when Burns lays into people who clearly genuinely annoy him (like broadsheet readers or French speakers in Canada), rather than simply chucking bombs into well-known areas of sensitivity like race in South Africa and the controversy over the guy who died in Barrymore’s pool.
That said, those who enjoy this whole shock-comedy thing more than I do will love it.