Adam Hess: Feathers

Fri 5th – Sun 28th August 2016


Miriam Brittenden

at 11:01 on 19th Aug 2016



Adam Hess’ show is high quality stand up, the kind of stand –up that generates deep belly laughs – the kind that are mildly cathartic and incredibly enjoyable. Adam Hess, you made me laugh for the best part of an hour, and for that you should be praised.

Hess' real skill is his ability to take the very ordinary: situations we have all been in in one way or another, and present them in such a way as to render them side-splittingly hilarious. These situations are relayed through artfully produced and delivered anecdotes. From the social politics of conversations at parties, the multitude of awkward situations that can arise in the duration and aftermath of a first date, the abundance of hilarity that is to be found in one’s mum and dad (watch out for the sketch of anti-climactic Christmas presents, it is golden). It is the identifiable element in his comedy that makes it so genius, testified to by the rapturous response of the audience – made up of all ages and showing the skill with which Hess’ humour can appeal so widely.

The longer anecdotes are by far the best part of the performance. The five minute quick-gag pieces that intersperse these, though funny on the whole, are considerable weaker. They are cheaper, less well executed, and receive a comparatively less enthusiastic response from the (packed) audience.

The ending too, feels rushed and forced, and certainly does not maintain the gravity of the rest of the performance- echoed in the audience’s less certain response. Some more work on this could really develop the set. It can also be noted that Hess’ personal anecdotal style, though wonderfully done, has definitely been done well many times before (take any of the most well know television comedians). This show does not break new ground, then.

For an hour’s good quality stand-up comedy, Adam Hess is your man. Hearty laughs and brilliant fun, you cannot go wrong really.


Eloise Heath

at 17:03 on 19th Aug 2016



'Feathers' is a great gig. Hess visibly revels in his own material, embodying the slightly weird Everyman we all believe ourselves to be. It is funny, simple as.

In stand up like this, with a strong autobiographical bent, the first 30 seconds are crucial. The entire audience is making snap judgements, working out (consciously or otherwise) whether or not they are going to like this guy. Hess makes a great first impact, bursting onto the stage bubbling over with enthusiasm. He appears to be genuinely buzzing, sometimes tripping over words or descending into awkward mumbling noises in his haste to get everything out. Thankfully the gabbling calms down slightly, whilst to energy remains for the entirety of the set.

The answer to the million dollar question? The jokes are funny. His one liners are very entertaining. He wonders, in an entirely random offering, why the pajamas are the noteworthy feature of the bananas, suggesting instead the title 'Bananas with limbs and minds'.

It is his anecdotal material that really shines though. An account of awkwardly trying to eat an unpeeled kiwi in a job interview made me cry with laughter. Hess mimes the first bite and narrates, "This is what it's like to eat a mouse".

Despite his abundant idiosyncrasies, the majority of the show is bizarrely relatable. Amongst the more pedestrian situations, missing your stop on the Tube etc, there is the strangely macabre retelling of the animation played between goes at a bowling alley. Hess may be a bit eccentric, but it does not create a distance. It simply gives his observational material a frisson of novelty, a world apart from cloying platitudes of so many stand ups noticing things and smugly intoning "Hey guys, do you ever notice how weird it is that...".

Adam Hess is like a child from 2002 who has hit the blue smarties hard. Hyper, a little weird, and ultimately very entertaining. Not much falls flat in the show, and there are plenty of bits that make me laugh- really, really hard. Having seen a lot of high concept comedy this week, it was nice just to hear some funny jokes.


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