JARROD BAKER We Are All Doomed

Cavern Club, 22 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

13/05/2014 - 17/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Humanity might be going the way of the dinosaurs – but if Jarrod Baker has his way, at least you’ll be well prepared for it. In We Are All Doomed (Wellington 13 – 17 May as part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival), the musical comedian will offer hints and tips to help make sure that your Armageddon is a pleasant one.

People have been predicting the end of the world pretty much since the beginning of the world… and yet the world goes on, ticking along in the way it always has. Still, you can never be too careful – and whether it all ends in Ragnarok or the Rapture, a plague of frogs or just a regular run-of-the-mill plague, Jarrod has you covered.

Warning signs the end is nigh. Post-apocalyptic cooking tips. What to pack for the heat death of the universe (you’ll probably need a warm jacket).

We Are All Doomed features all this and more. See it while you still can.

Jarrod Baker is one half of Billy T award-winning musical comedy duo Mrs. Peacock, a regular MC for Richter City Roller Derby, and a past president of the New Zealand Comedy Guild. His television appearances include Comedy Jam (TV2, 2011), A Night at the Classic (TV2, 2010), and the TV2 Comedy Gala (TV2, 2008).

As part of the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, grab some mates and join us for a great night of laughs from 24 April – 18 May.

For the full Comedy Fest show line-up head to comedyfestival.co.nz

Dates: Tue 13 – Sat 17 May, 7pm
Venue: Cavern Club, 22 Allen Street
Tickets: Adults $17, Conc. $13
Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) // www.ticketek.co.nz
Website: worstsongs.co.nz

Nerdy comedy, loopy music

Review by Shannon Friday 15th May 2014

Jarrod Baker is working a hard gig: one part musician, one part comedian.  It’s challenging because in order to pull it off, you have to be fully developed and skilled at both.  His show is a series of deeply nerdy – in the best possible way – songs about various ways the world will end, from global warming to divine wrath over gay marriage to the dolphins’ final revenge.

All the songs are original except for one, and they span many genres, from Vanilla Ice-style rap to Johnny Cash country ballads.  And Baker hits the hallmarks of each style brilliantly.  He plays with how he builds his songs: some are pre-recorded, while others are made of loops of melody that are played live and looped onstage.

Baker’s performance is stronger during the pre-recorded songs; there’s more direct engagement, more eye contact, and more – for lack of a better word – gusto to his performance.  A Tom Jones-ish anthem about the brain parasite toxoplasmosis gandhii is masterful: full of passion, clever rhymes, unexpected endings and served up with a layer of camp enthusiasm that makes me want to sing along. 

I wish I had the same enthusiasm for the live-looped songs, but they feel under-rehearsed, and Baker spends a lot of time looking at the pedals on the floor or the song lyrics rather than engaging with his audience.  There’s also some skill that needs to be built here. 

Part of the joy of watching someone do live looping on stage is the complexity of building each song, and how it changes over the arc of each song.  There’s an edge of danger here; how many layers can you pile up and how quick can you respond to your own creation before it all falls apart? 

At the moment, Baker’s live looped songs are all set down before he begins singing and remain unaltered until they end.  The endings are uniform: shutting the entire thing down with one step on the pedal. 

The lyrics are engaging enough that I want the music to match.  Instead, this lack of shape musically limits what can be done in performance – the rhythms grow tiresome and constrain tempo and phrasing, making the looped songs feel longer than they are.  I like the idea of this type of comedy and think Baker has plenty of room to grow into it, but it has to be way more polished than it is to get buy-in. 

Baker’s comedy is strange and nerdy, and the more he has to scramble to bring different ideas together, the more I enjoy it.  One of my favourite songs of the night is the result of a Facebook poll about how the world will end, and it involves Justin Beiber and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in some of the finest musical storytelling this side of Weird Al Yankovic.  It is truly bizarre and enjoyable.  I only wish the rest of the matched it.


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