Ro Campbell: Shooting From The Lip
Ro Campbell @ Ambassadors Hotel – Ambar Lounge
10:00pm, Thu 25 Feb 2010
After being mightily impressed by Ro Campbell’s short spot during Shaggers, this show was gladly raised in priority. Sadly, it didn’t appear to be on anyone else’s radar this Thursday night, as there was only a handful of paying customers, bolstered by the usual collection of friends and crew; a disappointingly small crowd for this decent-sized room downstairs at Ambassadors.
I like Ro. He’s a genuinely affable bloke to chat to, and his standup is… hang on. I was just about to say “gentle”, but then I thought about the Roman Polanski / Bindi Irwin / Jack Nicholson’s hot-tub joke (the “wrongest thing he’s ever written”), and his description about spelunking for a clitoris (which turned out to be something quite different)… and that’s not “gentle” at all.
And then there’s comparing Australians to the Taliban, some different David Hicks jokes, and questioning the Oxfam cards that result in a third-world family getting a medical checkup: “Merry Christmas, you’ve all got AIDS. And so has your goat.”
Yep, “gentle” is completely the wrong word to describe Ro Campbell… yet it was the first one that sprang to mind. So where did it come from?
I’m guessing that it comes from the lingering feeling that he’s presented his material in a non-threatening way. And the bulk of his act is personal… the life-changing decisions he’s made, his time as a roadie, the rough-and-tumble of the comedy circuit in Scotland. But he tells these jokes in an almost passive manner – he’s not leaping in your face and shouting, he’s just telling a story. Kinda like Dave Allen, but without the stool and cigarettes.
And yet, there’s a slyness to his delivery, too – his eyes are watching you, really watching you, like he’s foxing you, trying to round you up.
All of that seems very contradictory – very contrasting. And that word keeps coming back to me still – “gentle”. But maybe that’s because I identified with him in a way… because I feel like I’ve been bumbling through life myself, making silly life-changing decisions along the way, in a manner similar to the stories Ro shared. I identify, therefore I’m not threatened; I’m comfortable with him.
Hmmm. You know what? I haven’t done Ro Campbell justice with this at all. Because he’s ace; crude, unassuming, filthy, and bloody funny. I love his work.