Adam Hess and Glenn Moore brought their latest shows to the Exeter Phoenix as part of their nationwide tour on Sunday 25th February. Housemates and now tour mates, the two up-and-coming British comedians entertained an audience of Exeter locals and students with witty jokes, cringe worthy childhood anecdotes and a splash of toilet humour.
Both these acts are making their mark on the British comedy scene. Hess was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer in 2015, and has appeared on Tonight at the London Palladium on ITV. Moore has featured on Mock the Week, as well as regularly appearing on the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio. His debut show Glengarry Glen Glenn was nominated for Best Debut Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival in 2016, and his latest show The Very Best of Belinda Carlisle enjoyed sell-out audiences at 2017’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Impressive feats, considering how competitive the comedy market is. This is always particularly evident when you see the thousands of acts heading up to Edinburgh every August, hoping for their big break.
After a brief introduction by Hess and some friendly back and forth with audience members – a staple for any stand up gig – Moore took to the stage. With a few pop culture references and clever play on words thrown into the mix, Moore’s set explored his childhood, embarrassment, conflict with stubborn housemates and his desire to be the first man on Mars. Well, a desire to be the first man ever to do anything praiseworthy would be ideal.
At the heart of the set was a retelling of how, when he was fifteen, Moore was forced to spend his summer holidays at his grandfather’s house in the middle of nowhere. What he expects to be an extremely dull few weeks transforms into a mission to crack an unsolved case, with the help of a teenage girl working in TGI Fridays, who he has also conveniently fallen in love with.
Moore skilfully took us through all the twists and turns in this story, while remaining humorous throughout. Maybe it’s because I have an interest in unsolved cases, but the tale was engaging and I found myself hooked by the mystery. The story came full circle when Moore ended up back with his grandfather years later, and you were left pondering the risks of letting your imagination get the best of you.
After a quick interval, where the music playing in the auditorium took me back to my teenage years of dancing at school discos to Katy Perry, it was time for Hess’ set.
I saw Hess at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival a few years ago after seeing his jokes make the rounds on Twitter. Hess’ slightly absurd show kept me laughing throughout, thankfully distracting from the slightly dingy nightclub venue, so I was looking forward to the Phoenix gig.
Hess’ humour is one of self-deprecation and daftness, drawing from life experience. Like Moore, Hess reflected on his childhood experiences; a particular anecdote about a missing piece of Lego is not one I am going to forget in a hurry, even though I would quite like to. You sympathised with Hess as he recalled his awkward encounters and navigation through his dating life. However, Hess’ set did sometimes appear a bit muddled and chaotic, but I like to think this is part of the charm of his act.
Despite the fact that this double-bill lasted for over two hours, the beginning of each set did feel rushed. At times, the fast speed in which Hess and Moore were speaking made it difficult to follow; a few jokes didn’t quite hit the mark and provoke a reaction from the audience. However, the latter is often to be expected in stand up, especially on a quieter Sunday night. Once each act was in full swing, you could sense both the audience and the acts were more comfortable. This benefitted the performance massively, as the jokes and stories were executed with much better flair and confidence.
If you are looking for an evening of lighthearted comedy, then this is the gig for you. However, be warned, you will find yourself cringing and reliving your embarrassing teenage years.
– Connie Adams
The duo are heading to Northampton, Woking, Bristol and many more locations up until May.
Featured image source.