Phill Jupitus edged onto the stage strumming a guitar and singing a tune to parody a Coldplay song. It seemed a promising start, but very quickly we got into some surprisingly uninteresting stand-up given what you might expect from his performing history. At least the show’s title was apt I suppose – Juplicity.
Some will know Jupitus from British TV, such as a long-running role as team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and regular appearances on QI. He informed us that we wouldn’t get “QI Phil” tonight, we’d get “Live Phil”. If you were expecting the former, this is where the duplicity began. Having made a name on shows that seek to amuse whilst they inform or even elevate, Juplicity is show lacking originality or ambition that felt like a “bait and switch”.
The stage personae of stand-ups who tell us how clever they are or how good was the joke that we didn’t laugh at is now quite tired. So is the cliché of the past few years of a big international name coasting through their MICF performance.
With a very descriptive style, Jupitus had some observations that threatened to develop into something, such as how his lesbian daughter has ruined sexism for him. Yet, we just meandered around with no strong connection between bits, and no effort to adapt British references for the local audience.
A waffly extended section on how Jupitus first had contact with soft-core porn mags and his misconceptions about sex as a child got some laughs from the audience. However, not everyone found it hilarious. I suspect those interested in intelligent comedy might find Juplicity very heavy on setup for predictable punchlines, over-explained jokes, and not-at-all clever payoffs.
My guest and I had seen Jupitus on tv, had gotten a few drinks in, and were prepared to laugh. That neither of us did even once should show what a disappointment this show is. We enjoyed it less than Arj Barker. And it wasn’t just us having a letdown, a number of people around us showed their disinterest with short-lived, unenthusiastic applause at the end.
Bagging Coldplay is hardly new territory, although I understand Coldplay don’t disappoint their fans. With the variety of shows you could see at MICF – Rama Nicholas’ character-jumping sci-fi romance The Lucky Ones, Sammy J’s biographical tale Hero Complex, David O’Doherty’ musings with musical comedy Big Time or Tash York’s cabaret These Things Take Wine – you can get much more bang for your buck and novelty elsewhere.
Phill Jupitus – Juplicity
The Pavilion – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Wednesday 19 April 2017 – 7.00pm
Season continues to 23 April 2017
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: Phill Jupitus (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte