Francis Brian Shaw opens his comedy show The Fancy Brain Show: Shambolic’er at the Calgary Fringe Festival by saying ‘this is a comedy show, there is no art happening here.’ He chats with the small audience (of only 5) about his comedy career and where he started (Nanaimo Bridge, BC) and where is is now. He tells several jokes, from being in a talent show by line dancing to trying to insure his tiny apartment in Toronto.
Shaw’s jokes mostly make one guy in our small audience laugh. He’s trying, but the first half of his show, filled with small anecdotes that are vaguely comedic, don’t really land. His joke about being a comedian who wants to pet a cow in Ireland is smile-worthy, but comedy is a tough gig. And the first half of Shaw’s show isn’t that funny.
But stick with it, because once he gets to talking about why he has an engineering degree and is now a stand up comedian, it’s compelling stuff. Shaw takes us through some of the struggles in his life, his encounter with discrimination and ultimately that in the middle of struggle, lies opportunity. It’s a thoughtful tale, and one worth hearing. If Shaw would structure the beginning of his show as he did his final story, he would have a gem of a show.
The Fancy Brain Show: Shambolic’er is part of the Calgary Fringe Festival. More information is available online.