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Camden Fringe: The Hard Comedy: Offline, Canal Cafe Theatre

Part of the Camden Fringe 2013
The Hard Comedy Troupe

Pros: Funny and culturally relevant sketches are brought to life by a wickedly talented and engaging ensemble.

Cons: The Hard Comedy’s material is intended for YouTube, and while the live show was funny, it didn’t really set itself apart from the work the troupe makes readily available online.

Our Verdict: There’s no question that The Hard Comedy should be on your radar, but their material might be better suited for the internet than the stage. An acute awareness of YouTube and pop-culture is a must.

Courtesy of Canal Cafe Theatre
The Hard Comedy troupe has risen to popularity via their YouTube channel, which posts new sketches weekly. As a special treat for the Camden Fringe, the team of comedians brought their online work to the stage at the Canal Café Theatre. What resulted was a rambunctiously funny evening of Twilight and Rhianna references, with a sufficient number of pedophilia jokes tossed in.

The premise of the production is that The Hard Comedy is responsible for all internet video memes. During their hour-long set, they parody many and give us a creative and hilarious new look at our favourite YouTube guilty pleasures. Sketches ranged from dating talk shows featuring cultural icons to reality style television for Disney characters. Perhaps the best was a recurring spot for “Choloroform” as a feminine hygiene product. The team certainly has a sharp and daring sense of humour paired with an awareness of pop culture and media that marks them as a truly modern performance group.

The cast brought plenty of charisma and excitement to the stage, and I’d recommend anyone to keep tabs on the young talents via their YouTube channel, which they advertised profusely throughout their live show. While I certainly giggled and appreciated the troupe’s comedic approach, I will say that the live aspect of the production should have been a more important factor. It seemed though the troupe was simply bringing their preconceived pieces from the Internet to the stage. In fact, when I checked their website after the show many of the pieces I saw live where the same as pieces I saw online. The problem is that many of the sketches performed live for us were conceived and produced as short, viral videos, and they read as such. It would have been nice for The Hard Comedy to produce new material for their live show, maintaining the sense of humour they have developed online, but really tailoring a unique live experience.

It was obvious that The Hard Comedy’s main goal in performing live was to promote their online presence, and on that level, they succeeded – I checked out their channel as soon as I got home and watched several videos, and expect I’ll be checking back. But in the future, they’ll need to up the ante and the specificity of their live performances, or otherwise stick to the internet.

Seen the show yourself? Agree or disagree? Submit your own review with our Camden Fringe Big Audience Project!

The Hard Comedy: Offline has completed its run at the Camden Fringe.
Check out their YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/thehardcomedy.
For more information about future shows at the Canal Café Theatre visit: http://www.canalcafetheatre.com

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