An evening with Eugene Mirman downstairs at the Soho Theatre taught us a couple of things, and we’re generous types, so we’ll share: firstly, that it is possible to buy a laser gun from Wickes that can take the temperature of anything (example: crotches) from a distance; secondly, that it is actually possible to laugh so hard that your face hurts; and, lastly, that you can accurately gauge a crowd’s reaction to an act by their incidences of toilet breaks.
The supporting Pretty Good Friends cast are in squad rotation throughout the 10-day run, but if last night’s performers are anything to go by, the next few evenings should be full of gems. Last night opened with the brilliant Kurt Braunohler – whose slick and high-energy routine only elicited glances to the door of the gents during an overlong bit about his sexual prowess – followed by main dude Eugene Mirman, recounting a theory about God that had us laughing disbelievingly and not even entertaining the idea of a bathroom break. The improv comedy of H. Jon Benjamin and Nathan Fielder was a slow burner – their game, A Day In The Life, consisted of fifteen minutes of interrogating an audience member, while many others took the opportunity to do wees – but turned out to be an incredible, glacial-slow build-up, and their dropping of the C-bomb was one of the funniest things we’ve ever, ever seen.
The night took an unexpected turn, at this point – the blues stylings of John Wesley Harding had the whole audience listening intently to the lyrics of his first song for a punchline that never came, before descending into bathroom breaks once we realised it was just music. Nice music, but after such a heavy evening of dark and relentless laughs, a little unerring. If nothing else it proved the diversity of Pretty Good Friends act to expect.
It’s rare that a venue is so completely suited to a show, but downstairs at the Soho Theatre, littered with tiny candle-lit tables and crammed with hot-crotched humans, was a perfect platform for American comics to do shout-outs to Brooklyn and their subway system. It was an excellent evening. We didn’t personally go to the bathroom once.
Eugene Mirman and Pretty Good Friends, 5th—16th October, Soho Theatre, W1