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Glenn Wool: Let Your Hands Go
Published on Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Beneath Glenn Wool's rough cowboy exterior - be it the cowboy hat, the rumpled Guns and Roses T-shirt, the huge cowboy moustache, or the jeering, growling accent - lies a born entertainer. A creature of opposites, Wool marries the incongruities of his look with his wit and intelligence masterfully, and plays a wonderfully clever game with the audience while delivering powerful, hilarious and thought-provoking material. This show is intelligent and bombastic, extremely enjoyable, and truly deserves the attention it is getting.

To explain Wool's on-stage character, you have to imagine being shouted at by a redneck. Now, I know that could be construed as a little racist, but, as Wool puts it: 'It's not racist, because a redneck isn't a race, it's more a cultural identity and a selection of lifestyle choices.' That isn't one of his jokes, but it's in the vein of his general discussion, his wit, and his intelligence.

The strangeness of seeing someone, making a value judgement, and then being completely bamboozled by their wit and charm is Wool's powerful ammunition - and he uses it in spades. He is constantly bouncing between his look and his natural self, giving his set huge amounts of depth and character. This is exciting, heady stuff, enjoyable and watchable and empathisable, which is the sign that you're watching some really excellent stand-up.

The material is also nicely chosen, from pedantic linguistic arguments with taxi-drivers to the way to deal with bankers, and proves the point that Wool is very switched on. This set could have been delivered by a guy in a suit and tie, but would have had far less impact. Wool's ability is his incongruity: not being able to quite marry his performance, wit, style, pizzazz and energy to his look is what gives the show so much interest and watchability. I'd be interested to know if this is the same as his off-stage personality, or if he is putting on this slightly hick-ish behaviour for the act.

This show is a definitive example of what good stand-up should be. The material ranges between simple jokes and high-brow thought, the performer is likeable and interesting, and it rolls along beautifully. There are moments of diatribe, but they are defused elegantly; there are a couple of blue moments, but Wool doesn't dwell and lose some of his audience... This is exceptionally well put together, a perfect example of what stand-up can be, and an exciting show for Glenn Wool, whose star seems to be rising and rising. He deserves the best of success.

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