In the late 1980s, I saw the Canadian musical comedy act Corky and the Juicepigs on tv. Although now I can only remember their surf-vibe song “Psychopathic Killer in the Summertime”, nostalgia persuaded me to choose to see one of the group’s members, Seán Cullen, performing his show I am a Human Man. His preview performance had that rare and so important virtue of comedy – surprise.
Aside from bringing Marty Feldman’s eyes to tour MICF this year, Cullen has a very physical style of storytelling and a gift for entertaining nonsense. Pretty much from the start, what could be a fairly standard story of travelling to Australia quickly slants towards unpredictable silliness. Laughs arose from dissections of ‘Why do people ask about the weight of a baby but no other measure of its dimensions?’ to that of Cullen’s own scrotum.
Cullen’s MICF guide blurb indicates that he is prone to improvising. He shows himself adept at this, especially in response to odd interjections from the audience. At times I found he rambled on a little too long; however, when you consider just how many laughs he unearths, his hit-rate with experimentation is more than impressive. Mostly you wouldn’t be sure he’s improvising, only the odd stifled laugh from Cullen gives the game away as he amuses himself (and us) on his seemingly unplanned trajectory. A handful of songs performed to a tablet-supplied backing track give the show even more variety.
Unless he is a sophisticated android – hmmm … – Cullen is indeed a human man. Better than that though is that he’s original and funny and should appeal to those looking for stories about something other than coffee or hangovers.
Go for the silliness, and maybe – through song – you might even learn how to live better by hearing about the power of ‘Kachivo’.