Glenn Wool
Glenn Wool @ Rhino Room – Upstairs
7:15pm, Tue 11 Mar 2014
I can’t remember who had recommended Glenn Wool to me; I suspect it was the same comedian who had recommended Gareth Berliner (and hit on me), but it’s largely irrelevant. The important thing is this: as soon as I saw Wool’s name in the Fringe Guide, I circled it many times and threw in a few asterisks for emphasis. I was not missing this show.
The only problem was that Wool had a relatively short run which coincided with the second week of the Big Festival (or, as I internally referred to it, “Zorn Week”). And that meant that options were limited; other (regrettably lamentable… but more on that later) Festival shows further forced my hand, leaving me running from TuxCat to Rhino to see Wool’s opening night. But within seconds of him taking the stage, I knew I’d made the right decision.
If there was a central thread to Wool’s show this evening, it was the nature of (as Henry Rollins once put it) The Boxed Life. Of Canadian origin, but a comic troubadour by profession, Wool has spent much of his life travelling the world, and from those experiences come a wide array of gags, all effortlessly strung together by someone who is clearly both wonderfully skilled and well practised. There’s tales from his family, from his time living in the UK, and – of course – plenty of anti-American humour. But there’s also a lovely little hint of subversion in a lot of his work; whilst proclaiming an openness to all things, a seemingly dry statement – accompanied by a sideways wink – belies his true beliefs. His water-into-wine twist during the happy co-existence of Christianity and Islam was comic genius.
In terms of style, he’s immensely appealing: the gruff nature – and variations in intensity – of Wool’s vocals can evoke fond memories of Bobcat Goldthwait, and he’ll conjure a hilarious accent with ease. And the playful faces he pulls – hangdog despair, coy grins – at the audience to punctuate particularly wry jokes? Adorable.
Glenn Wool was fucking magnificent: I laughed my arse off during this entire show, and the only thing that could have possibly improved the experience would have been a bigger crowd… it really was a disappointing turnout for such a seasoned comedy legend. Of course, hindsight also tells me that I should have seen John Zorn’s four-hour Masada Marathon this evening instead… but even with hindsight, the quality of Glenn Wool would’ve made that a a bloody difficult decision.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 11, 2014