The Joker – 2010 Fringe Review

By Mira Saraf

The Solo Room is one of smallest venues I have been too. Set up a little bit like a high school assembly room we shuffle in under whirring fans, to a room of chairs facing a stage bordered by black curtains.

The show is more akin to stand up comedy than theatre, but I am okay with that tonight. Toronto is melting its human population and the Solo Room has air conditioning. I am prepared to sit through most anything (and it’s a bonus if it’s good).

Jason John Whitehead is a Nova Scotia native currently living and working in the UK, and wants to take us through a journey of his life as a comedian with it’s ups and downs, with a focus on the downs, because people love drama more than happiness and success.

Although his account is less autobiographical and more a peppering of anecdotes, (many about his ex-girlfriend, and his mistrust of children with the occasional questionable statement thrown in for audience reaction), it is entertaining and funny.

Whitehead is quite at ease with the audience engaging them in occasional banter if they are willing to participate. At the performance I attend, there is an entire tangent about one of the women seated in the front row running around chasing a pie. It’s one of those things that are hard to explain; you would’ve had to be there.

As he wraps up at close to 60 minutes, I realize that this has been more than just the opportunity to scam free air conditioning on behalf of Fringe organizers. I did enjoy the show. Although it is unclear whether there is an undertone of bitterness to his jabs at the ex, he manages not to let that take away from making people laugh.

If you are very easily offended you may want to avoid this show, as there are references to more than a few controversial topics. If not, it makes for a relaxing, yet quite politically incorrect evening.