Comedy Exchange Review: Big Man In The Big Apple

March 19, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

COMEDY EXCHANGE: Friday 19th March, Dave, 10pm ALERT ME

Oasis never cracked America, nor did Craig David, Victoria Beckham, brown sauce or black pudding.

You might be a household name in the UK but it doesn’t mean squat when you’re across the Atlantic.

Comedians have it just as tough as Phil Jupitus finds out when he swaps continents with Yank funny-man Eugene Mirman.

Jupitus will be known to anyone who’s seen a comedy panel show at any point in the last decade and could pack out a theatre with a stand-up show.

Okay he’s not massive (fame wise), but his celebrity in England translates to ‘absolute nobody’ when he touches down in New York. You might recognise Mirman from Flight Of The Conchords (he play’s the landlord) but on the British comedy circuit he’s mostly unknown.

Comedy Exchange follows the pair as they try and make it in each other’s homeland, from initial gigs in backstreet dives to the prestigious venues of New York and London.

It’s interesting to see behind the scenes of a day-in-the-life of a comedian. Nervous enough about facing a completely foreign audience, Jupitus hasn’t performed on stage in eight years.

Mirman completely bombs in his Edinburgh set and you worry that he isn’t a fair swap for the Never Mind The Buzzcocks big man. He drops a clanger on a morning radio show with a joke about paedophiles. However, audiences at his final show at The Comedy Store absolutely love him.

Jupitus is funnier from the off although a reference to Frosties (they call them Sugar Frosted Flakes over there) goes completely over the heads of his first audience. He’s got the talent to save it though and a packed Comix Club crowd can’t get enough of him.

It’s perhaps a little over-long with sections where Jupitus meets Mirman’s friend comedienne Kristen Schaal (who is really quite annoying) and Mirman sampling eels and mash.

The programme would have been just as interesting with just big Phil and the whole ‘cultural differences’ thing is a bit overplayed. But it’s great to see behind the cocky confidence comics tend to have and it’s also packed with decent chucks of stand-up.