Wisdom: Part One (Jimmy Hogg) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Amber Landgraff

The thing about performing comedy is that audience response is a big part of the overall experience of a show.  I am assuming this is as true for the performer as it is for an audience member.  Tonight I went to see Wisdom: Part One, presented by Jimmy Hogg, and I found myself spending a lot of the performance marvelling at my fellow audience.

The 60-minute show features the comedy stylings of Jimmy Hogg.  Hogg is best when he is being self-aware of his performance.  He begins the show with a dialogue about the pitfalls of presenting comedy at the Fringe, making jokes about the possibility for small or inattentive audiences.  He also describes the very real problem of telling a joke that falls flat, and then trying too hard on the next joke in order to make up for it, only to succeed in making that joke fall flat as well.

A great thing about the Fringe is that people can have the opportunity to test out new material in front of an audience and see what works and what doesn’t.  This could also be described at the problem with Fringe.  Hogg was testing out new material that explored ideas of mortality and immortality, and the different religions that go along with them.  But of course, religion can be a touchy subject even if you treat all religions with the same kind of irreverence.

There were some bits that were really very funny. I particularly enjoyed the part where he described the seven levels of heaven as different types of parties.  Some examples included a wine and cheese, a rave, an all American barbeque, and the kind of party where people stand around in the kitchen discussing things like the G20 and the oil spill.   Hogg eventually comes to the conclusion that he feels uncomfortable at all the parties and would rather go home and watch the movie Goonies.

I did find that some jokes may have been funnier had the audience been more receptive.  Aside from two fairly hysterical girls in the second row, the audience seemed mostly unimpressed.  I think this conversation, overheard from two other audience members upon leaving the theatre sums up the experience of the night.  “I don’t understand, I normally like British humour,” and the reply “Yes but that wasn’t British humour, it was just a British accent.”


Wisdom: Part One Venue 15 918 Bathurst Culture, Arts Media & Education Centre – BYOV

60 min.

Thu, July 1 7:00 PM
Fri, July 2 8:30 PM
Sat, July 3 8:00 PM
Sun, July 4 4:00 PM
Tue, July 6 8:30 PM
Wed, July 7 7:00 PM
Thu, July 8 8:30 PM
Fri, July 9 8:00 PM
Sat, July 10 9:30 PM
Sun, July 11 5:30 PM

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee)

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows