Dave Callan is an Irish comedian living in Australia who is probably most famous for being a cast member on Rove and has most recently appeared on Good Game. His stand-up as part of the 2013 Melbourne Comedy Festival is about the psychology of laughter.
Here’s an excerpt from the Festival website:
“The Psychology of Laughter is a book Dave found during the Edinburgh Fringe. It was written 100 years ago. This show looks at why we laugh and how it has changed in a century.”
That pretty much sums it up and it is exactly 100 years, the book was published in 1913. He presents a series of powerpoint slides to show us the history, and gives us a few psychological lessons and compares today to 100 years ago. His research mostly consisted of the book and…searching on Google. Relying on Google meant that some of his facts weren’t quite right, as you can imagine.
As both a psychology lesson and a night of comedy, I found it quite enjoyable, but it was good, not great. Callan flicking through the slides himself, sometimes with difficulty, disrupted not just the flow of the show but also the punchlines to his setups. I also think he may have played it a bit too safe with some of the jokes, but there are some genuinely funny moments here. However, some people may not appreciate all the learning, and some may not appreciate all the pictures taken from Google.
I saw this with two friends. One of them mostly agrees with me and we both give this show 3.5/5. It was only $20 and we feel like we got a decent show out of it. My second friend on the other hand hated it for the reasons listed above, and gave it a 1. This show isn’t for everyone.