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ED FRINGE REVIEW Joel Dommett, Pretending to Smoke with a Breadstick


As a kid, Joel Dommett used to pretend to smoke using breadsticks, and as a result is apparently addicted to breadsticks. Hence the title of this year's Fringe show, Pretending To Smoke With A Breadstick.

This isn't an hour-long routine about breadsticks though (thank God), it's actually more about truth, although he does spend at least three quarters of the hour with a breadstick in his hand, occasionally taking it to his mouth to inhale. Odd, I know.

Stand-up comedians lie. Not all of them, but most of them. Or rather than lie, they "exaggerate the truth for comic effect" and Joel is the first to admit that this is something he did/does... you'll be the judge of that.

The show opens with a montage of celebrities such as Stacey Solomon and fellow Fringe performers Nish Kumar and James Acaster wishing Joel luck, followed by "I've heard your show's amazing".

I'm surprised that Stacey agreed to shoot that video because in all fairness, later on in the show, she doesn't exactly get a glowing appraisal from Joel.

Christmas was also a theme, as the audience were walking in Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas was playing and during the show we were all encouraged to join him in a singalong of Come All Ye Faithful.

What takes up most of his routine is a story about a girl he met on Twitter, she followed him, he followed back (she was hot) and they got talking. 15 minutes later, they were having Skype sex.

Well she was, her microphone was "broken" and what Joel was actually watching wasn't her, it was a porn video. Then three years later, Joel gets followed by an account on Twitter called @CelebsBusted, and they demand £2,000 from him not to release the footage of him.

SPOILER: He still hasn't paid, and if you're expecting him to pull a full frontal shot up onto the screen then you'll be very disappointed. It turns out that the photo won't get released until Joel becomes a bigger celebrity.

There's also a moment in the show where Joel pulls up footage of his appearance on Russell Howard's Good News from 4 years ago and starts shouting "lies" at the screen. A bizarre moment, but it gets his point across. Everything from now on, or this gig at the very least, is 100% true.

Except the line he keeps coming back to "...and then I fucked a model."

I was familiar with Joel's telly work, mainly Impractical Jokers, but I didn't really know what to expect from his stand-up and overall I was impressed. He's a very confident/very loud performer which at first can take you aback somewhat but after a while you get used to it.

A highlight for me was the one lie Joel was allowed to tell, and that's that he killed his ex-girlfriend with a laser dick. That's right, you heard correctly. Laser dick. And it really is a sight to behold, as Joel beams a laser out from his trousers.

Joel is a charming performer who has a lot of fun on stage and as a result, the audience have a lot of fun too. Sure, it's chaotic at times, but underneath it all is a very well constructed routine which deserves to be applauded.

Joel Dommett: Pretending To Smoke With A Breadstick will be on at the Pleasance Courtyard until Saturday 27th August at 6pm

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