Review: Jazz Emu Is A Knight In Jiving Armour

Jazz Emu - Knight Fever ★★★★☆

Last Updated 07 June 2024

Review: Jazz Emu Is A Knight In Jiving Armour Jazz Emu - Knight Fever 4
A man in a leather jacket on a tiny horse holding a sword and mirrorball
Good knight: Jazz Emu rides into the Soho Theatre.

Us brits prefer our comedians distinctly uncool.

No Richard Pryor or Sarah Silverman for us; we'll take the awks leanings of Paul Foot or Sarah Millican, thank you very much.

And then... on struts Jazz Emu — the preening alter ego of Archie Henderson — 30% 1970s porn composer, 30% GTA character, 30% god complex, 10% anyone from Clapton. Backed by a natty troupe of jazztronauts, he croons a number about how, when it comes to working as part of a team, he's The Winner. Already it's too late. You're a Jazz Emu groupie.

Henderson's narcissistic swagger is all part of the gag of course, yet it's had the ironic knock-on of summoning up an army of die-hard followers (430k on YouTube, 258k on TikTok, 100k on Instagram to be precise). None of these Emu-heads will feel let down by Knight Fever's barrage of slap-bassed song-skits, featuring insta-classics like the paean to muesli bar filcher Eggerson Keaveney (you'll be singing that one for weeks), and Still Waiting — for anyone who's frittered away hours of their life watching a DVD logo ping around the screen.

Just like Flight of the Conchords, these songs are funny but, even if you rubbed out the lyrics, you'd still be getting down to them. Some of the magic comes in between the music — especially the anecdote about being confronted at the Pearly Gates by the author of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Bum notes? That'd be the 'knight' theme — a knotty confusion of Kelly Clarkson, the Royal Albert Hall and Emu's quest to feel Charles III's sword on his shoulder. It creaks like an un-oiled visor, yet it acts as a trusty steed — a vehicle to deliver a sizzling performance from this knight in jiving armour.

Jazz Emu: Knight Fever, Soho Theatre, until 22 June 2024. The show returns to London's Leicester Square Theatre on 1 March 2025, as part of a UK tour.