Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jack Massion

"I didn't do anything and you already are laughing at me. That makes me feel really bad."

With this opening line, Jack Massion nervously greeted the crowd and proceeded with a disjointed performance of one-liners on dog racism, Twitter handles, social cues and sibling disagreements. The nervousness did not subsist as he continued staring at the ground before most jokes and rarely was able to maintain consistent eye contact. Indeed, lack of flow and confidence were the major issues in this performance.

Midway through his performance, after a joke on why male Bachelorette contestants "are so desperate for one girl when they could be partying with a bunch of girls", Massion calls the joke he had just told "terrible." It was not clear whether the comic wrote that portion of the routine himself, but there is no reason for a performer to criticize his own joke on stage. Even if he anticipated a more positive audience reaction, he could have salvaged the botched joke by linking it with the Mitt Romney "binders of women" joke he told roughly two minutes earlier.

Massion comes across as the boxer over-reliant on his jab. The one-liner, much like the jab punch in boxing, has the potential for short and immediate effect, but will rarely win a prizefight. The comic should have developed longer stories with more cohesive jokes, or at least worked on more organic transitions between his one-liners.

There was a bright spot roughly eight minutes into his set where he examined divine intervention through God's inability to stop suicide attempts. That joke clearly got the best audience response and should have been introduced earlier, or at least further developed at the tail end of his performance.

The best cast scenario for this performance was a ten-minute-long stream of short, unrelated laughs. Massion should have kept it simple and stressed a few of the more effective jokes while paying closer attention to his transitions. His hand gestures clearly worked, but his performance was not overly active.

"I want to leave you guys on that terrible, terrible note, and I hope the next comedians are better."


  1. Happy Sunday Guy!!

    Great job with your review; after reading, I understand the type of comedian Jack Mission is (one that seems to rely on over-used bro jokes) and I can also capture a sense of your flair (direct, poised, yet with a little bit of sting).

    You give good advice, I agree that no performer should 'dog' on his own act while on stage, and in order to be successful, confidence (i.e. eye contact) is key.

    I would like to know the venue. From the beginning of your piece, it would have been helpful and interesting to know where the comedian was showcased.

    I love the one-liner vs. jab punch simile, it is the perfect mix of "punches". To really "knock out" your point, I would have loved to see an example where the transition needed to be more developed and maybe an idea of how to do so. I think that little bit of extra detail would fit perfectly with your last line, "The comic should have developed longer stories with more cohesive jokes, or at least worked on more organic transitions between his one-liners............"

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your helpful advice, Mara! I couldn't find the performance's venue on YouTube, and I thought it would be better to not say anything than to write the wrong location. Your point about expanding my idea on joke transitions is certainly useful. Thanks, Guy.

  2. I also feel like it is important to note that he is a college student (he is still attending, right?) I think your review is pretty critical, given that fact. I wanted to see some of your own humor in the piece, especially considering you stage the "rights" and "wrongs" of what a comedian should and shouldn't do, or at least give some context as to what you expect. Just caught me off guard.

    1. Zac,

      You raise a good point about being cognizant about the age and experience level of the performers we are evaluating. I felt my harshest criticisms were some of the quotes he used in his act, and I tried to insert myself in a way where I could offer pointers on how this ten-minute-long set could have been improved. The expectations for a "funny" comedy act were difficult for me to include within my self-imposed 400-word limit. But thank you very much or your feedback.


  3. I like how you weren't afraid to review how you felt. I also like how you picked what I would call an "alternative artform" to review. (I call it alternative because stand-up comedy doesn't immediately occur to me when I think of art.)
    Your use of quotes was well used in order to illustrate your points. I think you also did a fine job staying descriptive without ranting.
    My only criticism would be that you may have overused the quoted text. Looking over your review I wonder if you used it too much. I also enjoyed how you started and ended with a quote, but after reading through the entire post I also found it annoying as well.
    But in the end I think it's fine review that's critical but not hateful.