Review: Warren Robertson is ‘D(e)ad Inside’

This is the kind of comedy show that can define a career.

Warren Robertson is a comedian who until now has flown criminally under the radar on the South African comedy scene. His first show “Spamily” received critical acclaim at the Grahamstown Arts Festival and now he is back with his second show “D(e)ad Inside”. It’s a retelling of the most difficult year of his life, in which he became a father, had his own dad pass away and suffered a divorce.

This is the kind of comedy show that can define a career. It’s by turns angry, bitter, twisted and dark, and then suddenly light, gentle and surprisingly warm and, on the night I saw it, had the audience on its feet at the end.

It is a show that starts with a raging bang and had me laughing solidly for the first half an hour with clever oneliners, dark stories and a brutally honest assessment of parenthood that clearly struck a chord with the people in the audience with children. From there Robertson slowly draws the three threads of his tale together leading to a warm and ultimately, almost motivational closing.

People who are afraid that this will be another comedian ranting about his “Ex” need not fear, as Robertson’s heartache, loss and love for his former wife are clear, while at the same time he manages to find the humour in what must have been a very difficult time. The joke is always on Robertson as he also takes us through his difficult relationship with his father, and the harsh reality that no one can ever prepare themselves for parenthood.

A show entirely devoid of cliche, the honesty and clear wit of the comic makes it a thoroughly enjoyable hour even if you haven’t experienced the things he is speaking about. Highly recommended.

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