Garrett Millerick: Sunflower, Soho Theatre
I wasn’t aware of the existence of Garrett Millerick until I saw him MC a gig last year and was instantly enchanted by the man’s comedy. Rather than doing tedious crowd work he made it clear he had no time for such a thing and launched in to incredibly strong material, and so when I heard he was doing his latest hour long show at the Soho Theatre this month it was something I instantly planned to see.
It begins with Millerick discussing what kind of show it could be, with the possibilities being one of those serious shows that comedians do nowadays, or something on religion or politics. With the latter his agent tried to persuade him to do a Brexit themed set but Millerick rejected the idea as he’s confused as to why comedians are seen as respected philosophers, and there’s a great joke about how Morecambe and Wise, Russ Abbot and Cannon and Ball weren’t asked for their opinions about the big issues of their day. In the end he finally decided that given how shitty the world is he just wanted to create a fun show, the only problem being is that he is not a fun guy.
To anyone who might think he was lying he quickly proves that he’s not, as he gives examples as to why this is true, including that he doesn’t like cake (which caused one audience member to gasp), people, or going on holiday. This allows him to launch in to material about how much he travels due to his job as a comedian, and how he ended up making a loss when his wife joined him on a working holiday to Cyprus, all of which generated a lot of laughter from myself and the rest of the audience. Millerick’s a confident, assured performer, who controls the audience well and even when there’s occasionally a smaller reaction than expected he knows how to respond to get everyone laughing again.
After the initial set up he discusses two individual scenarios involving a fall from fame, the first being Chesney Hawkes’ current career (if you don’t remember him I wouldn’t blame you as he was something of a one hit wonder, and even then wonder is a pretty kind word to use) and Paul Cattermole from S Club 7, the band member who after sadly breaking his back ended up having to sell his Brit award. Millerick mines a lot of superb gags from both incidents, including a suggestion as to the type of person who would buy a Brit award in such an unusual situation, and both segments are extremely strong stuff.
Millerick also talks about his personal life a little (though not his wedding, that’s the one topic his wife has forbidden him to make jokes about) including his Catholic upbringing and also how his school recently got in touch to apologise about a racist photo that made it in to the press, whereas Garret’s more than a little miffed that they didn’t apologise for the IT teacher who was imprisoned for child abuse instead. Towards the end of the show events take a very serious turn as he reveals that his wife was recently rushed to hospital and almost died, it’s powerful stuff but also gives him the realisation that you can joke about anything, as long as it’s in the right context. I’m not completely sure I agree with him (I once witnessed Jerry Sadowitz do a guest spot where he appalled the crowd with the suggestion that slavery should be brought back) but he does make an interesting and well argued case.
Unknowingly I had seen about a third of the show during the time I first saw him but the material is so strong that it didn’t matter, and it still made me laugh hard throughout. Everything that I hadn’t previously heard was a real delight as well, even though this isn’t a show with a strong theme Millerick links together the differing topics and segments with aplomb, and I’ve no doubt that you’ll be seeing him on your tv screens very, very soon. And if you want to be smug like me and talk about how you saw him before he was famous, I’d recommend rushing down to the Soho Theatre before the run ends.