Review: Jake Hurwitz & Amir Blumenfeld with Streeter Seidell, Soho Theatre

jake and amir

Dude where's your set? How do you review a show that is barely a show? That's the problem with Jake and Amir's first visit to the Soho Theatre. The American duo have a huge, insatiable online fanbase via the collegehumor website, where their videos show them goofing and looning about and generally having larks like young American college kids have been doing for years. Naturally this following means they are now performing live, but on this showing it looks like they have some way to work out what to do onstage.

There is certainly some classic double act chemistry between the twosome. Jake Hurwitz is clearly the jock-ish straight guy, Tommy Cannon to bearded Amir Blumenfeld's Bobby Ball. So when they start off there is plenty of fruity banter and dick jokes. They also have great fun mocking us Brits, doing English accents (sounds like they've OD'd on Spinal Tap) and explaining how quaintly eccentric they find us. Amir jokes that he has streaked through Trafalgar Square and used his erect penis as a bagel holder. At their best they are like the Beastie Boys of Comedy for the Snapchat Generation.

There were some nice catchphrases – "holy guac!!" – and some business with a list on some scrolls read out by Blumenfeld that didn't really work. It's all good fun, puerile in places, but not really a show. And then just as it looked as if they were about to start their set proper they introduced a different act, their chum Streeter Seidell, who also does some very Spinal Tappish English accents. Seidell is also a collegehumor alumnus but a more conventional stand-up, recalling how he briefly went to school in London where a policeman seemingly straight out of Dickens circa 1870 came to warn students to beware of pickpockets. The youthful Seidell was distinctly underwhelmed: "that's not a crime, that's a magic trick."

When Seidell did his slightly warped schtick the gig felt like a proper comedy gig rather than something thrown together on the flight over. He also had some sharp, winning insights on America's gun obsession and, something of a stand-up meme at the moment, an obligatory routine on Game of Thrones. What went down noticeably better with the young audience, however, was a gag about almost smuggling some weed over in his bag by accident.

Seidell stayed onstage to introduce Jake and Amir again and I assumed they were going to do some actual stand-up material this time. Instead the trio hosted a closing game in which two audience members had to come onstage and play a Real or Fake game involving US newspaper headlines, TV shows and fast food products. It will come as no surprise to discover that the "Baconater" really does exist. The loser had to sing a Katy Perry song and then suddenly the show was over after little more than an hour. No real ending, no real pay-off, just a thank you and goodnight.

Jake and Amir are very personable with a great rapport. If there isn't a Hollywood movie in the pipeline I'm sure there will be at some point. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby they ain't, but they have definitely got something. The trouble was that onstage they didn't deliver anywhere near enough of it. I suspect even if I was a 15-year-old suffering for Attention Deficit Disorder and itching to get back to my Xbox I would have wanted a longer show. 

 

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