On Thursday, May 6th, I made my way to the Savoy Theatre to see Derek Edwards’ “It’s a Blunderful Life” stand-up comedy show. Edwards is a very successful comedian with a long resume so I was really looking forward to seeing this guy in action. I’m sure a lot of people would remember him from his work at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, so it was great to get a chance to see him in person at The Savoy.
I arrived at the venue at around 7:40pm and there didn’t seem to be a large crowd at that time. I was worried because a comedy show really relies on the energy of the crowd, so if the audience stayed at this size, it may hurt the show. However, in a matter of 20 minutes, the theatre really filled up. Most of the lower section was full, so I was happy that a good crowd came out to see him perform.
I was wondering if Edwards was going to bring an opener along with him. Going without an opener can be a very challenging thing to do for a comedian, so I was surprised to see him come out right away and go right into his act. Having someone warm up a crowd can be useful because it can be a bit of a challenge to get a crowd rolling. People tend to hold in their laughter at the top of a show but Edwards had some great tricks up his sleeve to draw these laughs out early on.
The brilliant thing that Edwards did right off the top of the show was to come up with some local humour to get the crowd laughing. He made a joke about how when he was driving here, he noticed two highway signs, both pointing in different directions and both reading, “Sydney.” He also couldn’t help himself from poking fun at the “Lick-a-Chick” restaurant. This type of detail really pulls a crowd in your favour. The fact that he took the time to write a few bits about the town he is performing in is a great way to make the crowd, that paid good money to see you, feel appreciated.
Edwards is one of the few comedians that does not rely on offensive content to be funny. I think Edwards only swore once during the entire show and it was only because the joke really called for it. A lot of comedians add cursing into their material to spice it up but Edwards didn’t need this at all. It was nice to see. Although I would have preferred to see him push the envelope a little more, I applaud him for being funny and clean at the same time. That is a very hard thing to do.
Another thing that was “classy” about Edwards was that he never got aggressive with his audience. When certain people in a crowd start to talk and show up late and distract everyone from the show, some performers feel the need to humiliate them or take them down a few pegs. This was not Edwards’ style. He would always make a few jokes about it but the jokes would be very light-hearted and it didn’t make those people feel humiliated. It was all in good fun. He actually came across as a really nice guy and that helps. You wanted to listen to him because he seemed so polite. One thing a comedian has to watch out for is when someone is talking during the show, you have to say the right things that get them to stop talking. If you are too confrontational, then the people talking could talk even louder just because you were being a jerk about it.
At the end of the show, I was really happy with how Edwards thanked the crowd. He seemed to really enjoy himself during the show and the crowd gave him a standing ovation for his efforts. Some performers tend to just give a quick wave and walk off but he took the time to make eye contact with us and smile as if he really meant it. He thanked us over and over again for coming and made the audience feel that this wasn’t just another show for him. Edwards character was more then enough to sell his material. He made you really like him as a person, not just as a comedian. Edwards went almost two hours with no break and to keep the audience engaged the whole time was a big thing to do. A wonderful job from Derek Edwards!