Museum Of Comedy
I love sitting down to watch PowerPoint presentations. No, wait a second. That’s wrong, let me start again. I don’t love sitting down to watch PowerPoint presentations. I’m willing to bet that is true for most of us. However, what if I told you the presentation you are about to watch will teach you to defend yourself against a wide range of dangers as you travel through time? That surely sounds better than 100% of all PowerPoint presentations you may have previously seen.
Mike Capozzola is a skilled cartoonist as well as a talented comedian. He combines these to great effect to create a multimedia show he calls Self-Defence for Time Travelers. Even the title holds plenty of amusement – in a former career I worked in localisation and internationalisation, so having the show title use British English for Defence but American English for Travelers is equally amusing and infuriating – nice work Capozzola!
The show comes complete with promised PowerPoint presentation. Its purpose? To ensure we’re safe if we travel in time and face off against the numerous dangers we may encounter, from dinosaurs to knights-in-armour. Helpfully, he even suggests places we can go now to practice these self-defence techniques. Capozzola’s accompanying cartoons are just as funny in themselves. As he reveals more, he asks the audience for their thoughts on how they would practice their defence or what threats might be posed in the next panel. The audience interaction is light and fun, making us willing contributors. There’s nothing you need to know about sci-fi or ‘nerdy’ topics for this, the show isn’t presented in Klingon at any point (lost opportunity perhaps?). There are a couple of terrible gags but I’m pretty sure Capozzola knows they are terrible and is quite proud of it. And why not, the odd groan between many, many laughs just adds to the fun.
Along with high-quality cartoons and self-defence lessons, a real highlight comes with what Capozzola himself calls the warm-up. It’s always noticeable when comedians are interested in their topic, and that it isn’t just something they came up with in the shower or grocery shopping. They use their own real interests, creating comedy around them but – and this is key – not at the expense of their interest. Rather it shows their love for it. In this case, Capozzola talks about a letter received from a Major after a much younger Capozzola and his brother had contacted NASA to ask questions about the space shuttle. Capozzola tells us his amusing and touching story before showing us that he still has both the letter and the (totally awesome) poster NASA mailed them over four decades ago.
Occam’s razor, as Capozzola explains early on, is that the simplest answer is often the most likely. Well, the simple answer in this review is that Capozzola is extremely funny, while Self-Defence for Time Travelers is fun, hilarious and educational. But Capozzola already knew this; he told us in advance that via his time travelling he’d been to check out our reactions. So did we just prove Capozzola’s time travel ability?
Self Defence for Time Travelers is written & performed by Mike Capozzola
Self-Defence for Time Travelers played The Museum Of Comedy as part of Camden Fringe 2022.