Rory O'Keeffe: Job's Worth

Sat 8th – Sat 29th August 2015

reviews

Bethan Roberts

at 11:52 on 15th Aug 2015

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Rory O’Keeffe describes Job's Worth as "a show about work by a man who prefers not to work." However, it is clear that a show this good must have required a more than average amount of time and effort to produce and perfect and, judging by the laughter from the audience throughout the set, it has certainly paid off. The show rattles through a large number of topics in its forty minute running time, ranging from the directly to tenuously work-related, encompassing the sex lives of bonobo monkeys, a hypothetical chat with deceased economist John Maynard Keynes, and the worrying possibility that one day most professions (including comedians) could be replaced with robots. The response to the material is largely positive, although there are occasional lulls in the laughter. Nonetheless, if some of the jokes don't go down quite so well, O'Keeffe manages to bounce back each time.

Though Job's Worth doesn't set out to provide something radically different as far as stand-up goes, there are details and flourishes that mark it out as a cut above the rest. Before the show starts, we are asked to write down our dream jobs on O’Keeffe’s business cards, which feature his real phone number (a choice he claims to now regret) and the profession ‘UNEMPLOYED.’ Select career choices are read out, including ‘robotic voice that makes announcements in the train station,’ and ‘astronaut’ (that was me by the way, and no, I didn't quite make it to NASA). This is a smart way to facilitate audience involvement, as it doesn't involve either cajoling unwilling individuals into participating, or the risk of attracting an overenthusiastic heckler poised and ready to leap into action.

O’Keeffe is an entertaining and charismatic onstage presence, effortlessly winning over the audience, and maintaining their undivided attention throughout the show. He’s also performing for free, so even the most cash-strapped Fringe-goer should be able to check out his work and get some really great comedy without having to worry about bidding farewell to too many hard-earned dollars/Scottish banknotes. This is a fun and rewarding show, and however good robots might be at ‘that’s what she said’ jokes, O’Keeffe is an excellent reason why we shouldn't trade in our human stand-up comics just yet. The day the machines rise up and take over our comedy venues seems to be reassuringly distant for the time being.

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Katie Heath-Whyte

at 11:59 on 15th Aug 2015

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Rory O’Keeffe is clearly a name that is gathering a sizeable following. An expectant crowd hovered outside the cosy venue, enough to pack out the chairs with extras sitting on the floor. A grinning O’Keeffe greeted the queue as they filed in, handing out his business card: ‘Rory O’Keeffe: Unemployed.’ Thus began the theme of the afternoon’s comedy, a tightly composed and expertly delivered romp articulating the woes of many a young graduate. Another of those gems of the Free Fringe, O’Keeffe’s stand-up show satisfied its large audience and proved an afternoon well spent.

A smooth-flowing collection of observational pieces, O’Keeffe’s show had a specific audience in mind. The well-educated arts graduate shunning the corporate machine whilst struggling to find a ‘proper’ job, the young, ambitious professional embarking upon their first journey into the ‘real world’ without being entirely sure what their job title means– a demographic not hard to bump into at the Edinburgh fringe. O’Keeffe’s manipulation of the all too familiar topics of graduate conversation into a series of hilarious jokes makes for an often bittersweet comic set, interspersed with some accurate social comment. Occasionally, the familiar nature of his jokes’ topics risked a certain predictability, drawing on commonly berated subjects such as private schools, Catholicism and Management Consultants. Yet O’Keeffe’s instantly likeable persona raised these above the commonplace and ensured the audience were kept laughing throughout.

The audience interaction was well managed, and some inventive material allowed the whole room to be involved without being ruthlessly picked on. O’Keeffe works quickly with the responses presented to him, his sharp retorts often some of the funniest lines of the show.

Most arts graduates bemoan their lot – O’Keeffe has made his into a show, and a darn good one at that. This young comedian is surely one to watch, with a sparkling personality that fills the venue and a confidence to deliver some bizarre set pieces, including a hilarious enactment of Bonobo monkeys. His amicable charm and vigour makes for a highly enjoyable performance, and the volume of laughter that spilled out from the crowded room is testament to his obvious talent.

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