Harry Thompson-Cook enters on-stage in front of a classic red curtain at the Q Theatre Cellar – a space which he claims to have been press-ganged into building (helping clear out with ‘tiny child hands’) as an impressionable young Class Comedian. He starts propped on a stool strumming his guitar, like a first year at an open mic night, talking about his mother leaving him at 19. But not in a deeply tragic way, we learn, as his mother turns out to be in the audience – where her reactions to some of Thompson-Cook’s content made it even more hilarious.
Women leaving Thompson-Cook tended to be a theme throughout his set, from various failed high school encounters to various failed adult encounters. He really worked well at wringing the humour out of what seemed fairly common occurrences, sucking every piece out for the audience “just like (he did) to that girl that night!”
He had the audience laughing from the get go, in a highly self-aware performance – both in the quality/style of his jokes, and in the manner in which he reacted to them and positioned himself on-stage, at many times shaking his head and muttering “silly boy, silly boy” repeatedly between jokes. Although he seemed to almost stammer his way through at times, his whole set contained this innate confidence and a key connection to the audience. He worked well in improvising and reacting to the audience, in what had to be one of the most relaxed relationships with an audience I’ve seen in a while. After a joke about a banana and a condom flew right over the audience’s heads, he didn’t skip a beat directing the audience to act as though it was the funniest joke ever told as he rewound and told the joke again.
He commented on how he used to be that comedian that would always go on about their virginity and their quest to lose it. He received congratulatory whoops when mentioning that that no longer applied; and that, even though he’d spent the first quarter of his set talking about attempts to lose his virginity, it didn’t count because it was in the past. The loss of the virginity itself was merely “fine”, in a bit which had his mother “cackling” like “Badjelly the witch.” As he leapt into an anecdote about his second sexual experience, his mother called out “second time??” in mockery and the audience lost it. For the first time since talking about all his sexual endeavours, Thompson-Clark actually broke out of routine and looked directly at his mum for a very entertaining exchange. He proceeded to avoid eye contact with her for the rest of the bit.
He posited that this whole comedy show was simply a stop on his path to becoming a rockstar – hence the ‘soulful’ opening and penultimate comedic ditties. When you’re a rockstar you can say what you want, and he wants to use that freedom to make a particular statement about Pita Pit. A statement which rounded out his show as he closed with an electric guitar jam raging against the chain restaurant.
Thompson-Clark’s set was very enjoyable. Self-effacing and highly self-aware, with a touch of gentle, awkward nihilism – Thompson Clark’s comedy feels Bo Burnham-esque, not only because he similarly includes singer-songwriting into his set. He still maintains his own unique flair however, as the type of comedian who would turn a socially aware joke into a way of letting the audience know he gives head – enthusiastic, but intimidated head.
Although he is on a quest to be a rockstar, Harry Thompson-Clark is very much more a romantic at heart. As a comedian, definitely one to watch.
What: Kid Crash City
Who: Harry Thompson-Cook
When: 8.45PM, 3 – 4 May
Where: Q Theatre, Cellar
Review by Grace Hood-Edwards