This review was originally written for EdFringeReview.com
Adam Hess is the comedy equivalent of a hyperactive child in a sweetshop. Frantically dashing from one topic to another, constantly disappearing down the rabbit-holes of his childhood memories, and regularly being distracted from his material. He is like a moth around a lightbulb, breathlessly flitting and fluttering from one routine to another. This erraticism masks a comic truly in command of his own material.
Hess is consistently funny, and on the rare occasion any of his material falls flat, the pace at which his set hurtles on ensures that any discomfort is rapidly dispersed. His agitated delivery – a spluttering, slurring whirlwind of gabble – is undeniably reminiscent of Mark Watson, as is his willing self-effacement.
Most of Hess’ material is personal. He focusses heavily on his childhood experiences – one anecdote involving an ill-fate family trip to a Spanish waterpark is particularly memorable – but this is eternally relatable. The bizarre Hess traditions he tells the audience about, although extremely unique, are still recognisable as the charming idiosyncrasies every family shares.
That which is not personal is observational. Hess, like many comics, undoubtedly has an unerring eye for the funny in everyday life. His material on train carriage etiquette draws loud laughs, as do seemingly random interjections on a host of topics. “I just can’t imagine the Queen with wet hair! I just can’t do it!” he exclaims out of the blue.
There are few moments of audience interaction, but when they occur, Hess handles them with confidence and friendliness. At one point, he even drags an audience member on stage to read out some of his own jokes of a piece of paper, whilst wearing a mask of his face, claiming that he “needs a break”. This situation is both hilarious and surreal, as the unfortunate audience member awkwardly recites a series of Hess’ one-liners, with Hess himself dancing extravagantly behind him.
Hess’ set passes in a joyous blur of laughter. His endearing self-effacement, erratic style of delivery, and obvious control of his own material are a pleasure to watch. A scheduled appearance on Mock The Week was apparently cancelled at the last minute recently, about which Hess makes several bitter and amusing remarks, but he shouldn’t take this disappointment too hard, as he clearly has a bright comedy future ahead of him.