Lewis Schaffer, a Jewish New Yorker, based in London for fifteen years now, has a reputation for being something of a bad comic. In fact, as he reminds the audience here or, more precisely, gets the audience to remind him because he’s lost his train of thought, last year’s show pondered whether he’d been bad at something so long, he was now actually good, on the basis of Malcolm Gladwell’s Ten Thousand Hours theory.
This hour is uncomfortable, unpredictable, and a little wayward, but it could certainly pass as “good”. There’s a narrative, when he remembers it; it may even be considered philosophically challenging. Schaffer starts, after explaining why the lights are left fully on, by enlightening us as to an old girlfriend from the 80s, who he deeply loved, despite certain flaws. Thus follows a rambling hour about the nature of beauty and love, and ruminations on a theme of sexuality.
Some of the older men in the audience are… there’s no other way to put it… molested. Several are repeatedly told, despite what their partners might think, that they are ugly. But it all ultimately makes a kind of sense and contributes to a strange but friendly hour. When people aren’t made to twitch uncomfortably in their seats, there’s a warmth for Schaffer, no doubt more so since there’s a few fellow performers in the audience.
Not for those who don’t want to get up close and personal with a middle-aged Jewish guy, it’s nevertheless an oddly enjoyable experience (not so much the up close and personal bit) that’ll leave you confused and/or a little liberated.