Dark comedy is a difficult genre of stand-up to execute well and one that I have rarely seen done well outside established, seasoned comedians. Touching on sensitive issues can alienate an audience when done poorly; this considered, Juan absolutely nailed it.
Performing to a smaller mixed-bag audience (which is a challenge itself), Juan set the scene early for what kind of night the crowd was in for. He used his personable nature to balance his material on a range of issues from religion, racism and even fruit salad.
‘Villain’ is occasionally harsh and almost offensive but the ‘worst’ material was performed in such a way that it did not feel malicious. Juan provided context to these jokes, possibly to illustrate why they deserve the responses they get and also to reconcile the material with himself.
Juan’s relaxed but confident demeanour built his rapport with the audience as he dealt with the contentious issues. During some stand-up sets, an audience may be able to get ahead of a comedian and find the punch line first; however, this is not as easy or sometimes even possible with ‘Villain’. Juan often approached topics from new angles and had surprising takes on the issues at hand.
This show was not for the fainthearted and audiences should be prepared to laugh even when you know you probably shouldn’t.
See Juan Miles in ‘Villain’ from 11 to 15 April & 18 to 22 April. For more information and to book tickets, click here.
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