Dear Jimmy Hogg,
I am the guy with red hair who was sitting in the front row of your show, A Brief History of Petty Crime, at its Toronto Fringe debut last night. I am sure that you remember me. You started talking to me a bit during your show, at first when I laughed at a joke you made about pesto. Your chatty, digressive performance style allows for such interaction and abandonment of your script. However, as the night wore on, you kept returning to me, sending more and more comments my way. How did I know that you would soon start talking about my hair colour?
You are from England, and gingerphobia over there runs riot. So it came as little surprise when you explained to the audience that your reason for picking on me (in fact, reverse-heckling me) was that my bright orange hair made me stand out. However, when you launched into a spontaneous joke about someone standing on the edge of a cliff asking God “why did you make me a Ginger?” I think you rather lost your audience, who responded with a shared awkward groan rather than a single laugh. You then attempted to back-pedal with something along the lines of “but some of my best friends are Gingers,” but I think by that point, the line had already been crossed.
I guess you probably weren’t aware that I was there to write your review. I actually wrote a very positive one for your show last year, and even included you yesterday in my list of shows worth checking out. Your current show, detailing your personal run-ins with the law, I found not quite so polished as your last, which had a tighter structure. Still, your rapid-fire delivery and idiosyncratic perspective are intact, and I find you most entertaining during your spontaneous digressions. Except, you know, the ones where you hurl unprovoked insults at me. But, I have surely learned my lesson. Never again shall I sit in the front row of a Jimmy Hogg show. Gingers, clearly, belong at the back of the bus.
A Brief History of Petty Crime plays tonight at Comedy Bar at 7:00 p.m.
Shows tonight that may be worth a look:
Besides having a play he wrote in the festival this year, Sky Gilbert is also directing Hope Thompson’s Tyrolia, a comedy set at a ski resort featuring Moynan King, which plays at the Factory Studio at 10:30 p.m. At the same time in the Factory Mainspace, you could catch Rob Salerno’s Balls, a show about testicular cancer that was well-received at the Ottawa and Hamilton Fringes. Also at 10:30 p.m. over at St. Vlad’s, David, a Montreal-based show about sex, opens. We don’t really know much about the show, except that its sexy and attention-demanding poster has caught our eye around town more than once. Finally, if you’re in the mood for something completely different, why not catch Handel’s Acis and Galatea, presented by the Classical Music Consort? Their press promises baroque opera and surreal video projections. It plays at the Factory Mainspace at 8:15 p.m.
Photo by Raff Melito.