Brian Stollery is a Canadian comic whose resume is chock full of accolades, including “Canada’s Next Top Comic” on XM Satellite Radio Canada. His bio states that he began as a classically trained Shakespearian actor (which explains his skilled timing, diction and energy) and juggles acting work with comedy tours covering both corporate and club work.
As a result, although Stollery dips his toe in sexual matters and occasionally slips in a foul word or two, overall his routine as is would be clean enough for television. Nice Enough is his first comedy album and follows in that vein; a safe and inoffensive collection of quick jokes and one-liners. And while prompting the audience with such bait as “Hey – anyone been dumped?” isn’t exactly cutting edge, he’s able to milk good laughs riffing on common subjects about dysfunctional families, disappointing relationships and odd families.
Although Stollery doesn’t break any new comedic ground, he’s obviously skilled and polished enough to work the crowd through the misses as well as the winners. At the beginning of the set he makes reference to his pair of thick-lensed eyeglasses, and their subsequent use to magnify the appearance of a certain appendage is called back cleverly more than once later on. Ditto bits about a three-person tent and a good joke about a back mole which is first used as a good twist in a married vs. single routine and then later subtly woven into a dirty joke that went over the heads of most in the crowd.
And these points were clearly evident just from the audio on the CD. Judging by the audience reaction, it’s apparent that his live show incorporates frequent exaggerated facial expressions and enough physical gestures to amplify his words. In other words, a requisite quotient of silly, which is fine by me as long as there is something worth being silly about. The crowd at The Laugh Factory is laughing consistently; while I was more chuckling than howling, several bits (like nose hairs acting like cat whiskers and kids named after cars) stood out.
And that’s really the overriding takeaway I have from Nice Enough – a fun evening from a likeable comic that will appeal to a wide audience. Although there are a few Canadian references that those of us south of the provinces might not relate to, for the most part his material is as universal as it is family friendly. Besides, Canadians had to feign knowing references to Cleveland and Pittsburgh for years; turnabout is fair play.
Those seeking more lascivious fare or deep social commentary won’t find any here, but there’s a huge audience for good clean comedy that will appreciate Brian Stollery’s approach.
Listen to clips at CD Baby
And Happy Birthday to Conan O’Brien!