He throws a modern spotlight upon these older cultures in an often hilarious manner The pacing is machine gun. He highlights the absurdity integral to history and utilises PowerPoint in a manner which many university lecturers could learn from.
A series of dodgy and hilarious short raps help explain certain points and highlight particularly nonsensical parts. Southern has an obvious deep affection for history and this abiding interest helps connect the tide of information from being too overwhelming. He occasionally plays a bit fast and loose with the facts, but then Wikipedia is not the most infallible of tools.
His audience interaction is relaxed and smooth, he utilises entertaining aspects provided by them and will gently tease but in a friendly and almost welcoming manner. He is mischievous and more than a tad naughty and it’s his ad-libbing and back-and-forth banter with the audience that shows his many years of stand-up experience.
The show cracks along at such a pace that nuggets of comedy gold can be overlooked as joke piles upon pun and absurdity meshes with reality. There are moments where good taste is pushed but humour should never be held captive as political satire, parody and allegory have proven throughout the Ages. Southern presents a breezy, bright and exuberant show that zips along, utterly engaging the audience, entertaining and educating them in a wonderful and manic hour of comedy.
After a successful run at last year’s festival, Gordon Southern is back in New Zealand with his trusty sound effects box and unique brand of edutainment-style comedy. The Kerfuffle is a delightful hour of rapid fire stand up that is an absolute joy to watch.
There is a whole lot that gets covered throughout the show. Audience members are designated celebrity personas (with weird hobbies like taking photos of meat), he relentlessly pokes fun at British idiosyncrasies and we find out why he has forty avocados in his flat. We also get treated to an impromptu Bollywood dance lesson and learn about the time he threw caution to the wind and faced off against a certain Prince dubbed “Captain Wales” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
His material is upbeat, engaging and wonderfully witty with impeccable comedic timing, particularly when he chooses to use his signature “that’s a fun fact!” audio insert. He also recounts some genuinely heartwarming and compelling stories from his family life which he manages to fit in seamlessly without significantly affecting the energy of the set.
Gordon is undeniably a gifted entertainer and skilled performer which he unabashedly credits to him having a drama degree. Drama degree or not, his charismatic disposition, boundless energy and animated storytelling will have you captivated from start to finish. If you weren’t a fan coming in to the show, I daresay you would leave as one.
The Kerfuffle exudes feel good, is immensely entertaining and packs a comedic punch. If you enjoy fun facts, jokes about the Royal Family, toy giraffes and just bloody good comedy (with the odd rap thrown in for good measure), you will thoroughly enjoy this show.
I like Gordon Southern. He has three of the most important traits that I believe a comedian should have: he is charming, energetic and genuine. Having enjoyed watching him on stage as part of a line up or solo, I have come to expect that I'll always be left smiling afterwards.
I am excited to be in the crowd for his opening night show. And so is he. Effervescent as he leaps on to the stage, Gordon beams a broad open smile and without skipping a beat is off on a meet and greet of the room. He gets the giggles quickly adorning the crowd with alternate realities. His banter is openly manic, his face in a permanent happy crinkle.
Here's a good natured fella from Brixton in “Sarf* London,” and he'd rather like a chat with us. And this is The Kerfuffle.
The show is essentially about life. Trawling himself, his family, his community and then his place in the world, we get glimpses of golden humour. This is stuff we can all relate to, we are all human! And there is certainly a lot going on. I can't help wondering if the show is too full of material and ideas; too many things to be able to go into any one thing with the weight it needs to have full effect on us.
The pace he gallops through the show is hard to keep up with in parts. His beautiful stories about his dad are so delicate and human (my favourite kind of humour) I would have liked more time to linger over them.
I was pleased to see he had bought along his sound effects machine which I really enjoyed in his 2012 festival show A Brief History of History. He uses it to punctuate the relevance of certain statements (I have to say my favourite is, "That...Might...Not be a fact!") and no-one in the crowd is disappointed when he turns up the beats for some of his trademark rapping.
Altogether a swift hour of honest humour which is executed exactly as it is described it in the programme; a joyfully silly and quick-witted shambles. And yes, I left smiling.
It won’t come as much surprise that in a show that condenses the entirety of recorded human history into an hour, there’s rather a lot going on.
Gordon Southern adds to the action by chucking PowerPoint slides, musical stings, two-line raps and a smidgeon of audience participation into the rich mix. Topics with vast potential for gags, from the Roman Empire to European colonialism, are each dismissed in a couple of minutes.
The content is necessarily superficial – an adjective which could just as equally apply to Southern’s jokes. For the pace of the show, the need for him to enthusiastic, driven and upbeat far outweighs the necessity for beautifully crafted gags –and that, indeed, is how it pans out.
From showing an images of a Mutant Ninja Turtle when he mentions Leonardo Da Vinci to imagining great warlords clashing in pay-per-view boxing matches, the writing is funny enough – rarely more or less – even when it needs to deploy stereotypes to keep the speed up.
That said, a couple of more inventive moments stand out, especially the idea running the World Wars backwards to give them happier ending. But even if you don’t like one segment, it won’t be long until the next one.
Southern’s eminently charming and good-natured and makes for a jaunty, confident guide through his sprawling subject, and like an accomplished plate-spinner keeps several running gags aloft – from facts that might not be true to cheeky jibes at a couple of members of the audience packed into this tiny space.
It all makes for a feelgood hour that fair flies by, in contrast to so many festival shows.
Gordon Southern likes New Zealand and is happy to keep coming back, which is something we should be very happy about. He bounds onto the stage exuding confidence and smugness (something to which he happily admits during the show) and rattles out an hour of constant hilarity in his relatively new show, The Kerfuffle.
He is very quick and clever, partly due to this show being tried and true. Starting off by assigning strange occupations to various audience members (declaring we have "celebrities in the room"), he continues by giving us a mixture of both jokes and information, with a constant reminder of his catch phrase; “That's a fun fact!” Although this is nothing new to those who have seen Gordon perform before, it is entertaining and good to know which jokes have a factual basis.
It's obvious by the response his jokes garner from the audience that he's a popular and truly gifted comic, with no joke going flat and himself even needing to have a giggle at some of his off-the-cuff jokes. A lot of the humour arises from the openness and participation of the audience - nothing embarrassing or difficult, but the raucous laughter and friendly conversation he has with various people is thoroughly entertaining.
Over the course of the hour, we hear about performances for the army and a member of the Royal Family, get an hilarious example of Bollywood dancing, hear personal tales of his family, and learn the problems with buying discounted, bargain products and mobile phones.
His father, who was not expected to live through December, plays a large part in the show and there are many funny anecdotes surrounding his actions. It is surprisingly touching to hear these tales.
Gordon Southern's performance has little structure to it and he's honest about this as he randomly segues between topics, however there are recurring themes which help bring the show to a resounding finish.
Overall, the show is memorable for being funny for almost the entire hour. That being said, Gordon Southern's The Kerfuffle is worth the watch if you want an hour's worth of reasonably clean, clever and thoroughly entertaining stand-up. Recommended.