Phil Jerrod: Neanderthal

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 16 Aug 2015

Society has evolved behind Phil Jerrod's back, he explains in Neanderthal, exasperated to have found himself stuck somewhere between homo erectus and homo habilis in the cultural homininae. Fortunately his material is far from primitive, offering gently funny insights into the rapidly mutating nature of modern British life. 

Standing as a mass of belly and beard, it's not unfair to suggest Jerrod perhaps doesn't represent Man in his most anthropologically advanced state. He does, however, have a natural charm and good command of comic form. At a glance the layered textures of his work could go unnoticed, but there's a veiled craft to his material that belies his scruffy nonchalance. He segues smoothly between musings, offering amusing perspectives on murder ("it's not like the good old days of Jack the Ripper") and what is means to be middle-class ("nowadays you've got to run your own cupcake business to get anywhere"). 

Having grown up in the countryside, he seeks to dispel the preconceptions regarding rural racism and antiquated lifestyles. He doesn't quite develop the idea of identity further though, and generally his act errs too much in the realm of pedestrian pleasantry without generating a sufficient return of laughs. It's a promisingly droll debut from Jerrod, and the cutting edge will surely come with time. He possesses a neat turn of phrase and occupies a pseudo-philosophical persona, but the show is ultimately lacking the chuckle-rate that transcends the saturated market of technophobic satire and elevates a good show into a great one.