Review Joe Pera, Soho Theatre, London by James Ellis 

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Joe Pera: Spring in the Midwest and Rustbelt PT IV – Spring in the UK & Europe 

Out of all the comics around today, Joe Pera might just be one of the most unique. His gentle comedy stylings might not be to everyone’s taste, though those that do simply love him. After viral success and a HBO series lasting three seasons, he seems unstoppable. Having not been seen in the U.K. since 2016, his new stand up tour comes with these many triumphs on is shoulders.

It remains the subtlety he brings to his act that makes it so funny. Earnest and frank observations would make him appear twice as old as he looks, perhaps even three times older. His gait, posture, hand gestures and accent might make you feel like you’ve time travelled to the 1950s. He looks like he might fall over, his back slightly bent as if he has done heavy lifting all day. It’s very easy to fall in love with him, he cannot be seen as anything but adorable. 

Now, I never expected to be riffing with him during his performance. I was dubbed the guy from Wales and we have many a good back and for, Joe even coming out of character a few times, lost in my remarks and swipes. I have to say I didn’t let myself down, I just embraced the energy of the night, this being a London audience I wanted to let them know they had some Welsh in. Joe admitting his recent comparisons to Jeffrey Dahmer on TikTok seems to loom over him, the image of a densely accented, softly spoken, blonde, glasses wearing man cannot be denied. Welsh water came up for some reason and I also recall a conversation about The Sopranos TV show. What a joy! I blame the wine…

It remains the jolt of the old school with Joe, finding beauty in the simple things in life, the mundane, everyday sort of experiences and encounters. This is a spiritual experience for the soul, the genius of this comedian lies in the pacing, volume control and of course, soft wit. 

He cleverly subverted expectations by ending with a fairly filthy and shocking monologue, something I never thought would pass his lips. The love of his United States is always with him, though in his tender own way of expression. We could learn a lot from him out of life.    

I do have to wonder what would have been the act more had I not embraced the vibe of the night, Joe seems to work an audience very skilfully. Speaking to him after he seemed delighted in the good ribbing we both gave each other. He said their was a chance he could have performed in Cardiff in a festival, which was an exciting prospect. We hope he can make it to Wales next time. 

I award this show 5 stars or as Joe would say himself: “10 OK’s…..” 

Many thanks to Soho Theatre for letting me see Joe’s final performance in London. 

Joe Pera continues on tour to Bristol, Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Europe & the U.S. 

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