in my humble opinion

Fringe 2006 - Review - Mittens for Fat Kids - 4 stars


Mittens for Fat Kids - Leaky Pen Inc. - Acadia Cafe



(Mom gives him 3-1/2 stars, I give him 4)



Stand-up comedy at the Fringe?



Now there's an idea that, like any comedian, could go over big with the audience, or die a painful death on stage.



But ask yourself, "Would Batman be afraid to go?" No. No, he wouldn't. Batman would go.



And so should you.



(and yes, that's referencing a routine in the show, sorry. But if you go, you'll know what I'm riffing on, now won't you?)



The show was practically sold out, wall to wall people both Saturday and Sunday for Ben's first two performances. And the big turnout was well-deserved. He played the crowd like a seasoned pro, though he's only been at this about a year.



I won't give away the title - it's much more fun in context (much like Batman).



Mom says, "Almost an hour of stand-up and not one bathroom joke. Good for him."



"So, you prefer jokes about death and God?"



"Yes. Like he said, God can take it."



"It's not blasphemy, it's cute."



"Exactly."



Ben's onstage doppelganger Benjamin Whims comes from a long line of comedians with a taste for quirky and dark subject matter - vandals falling off water towers, unusual funeral arrangements, comic gravestone inscriptions, the priesthood and other forays into religious thought, schoolyard misinformation campaigns that get kids in trouble with their parents, and Ben's signature tongue twister about the odd/even day parking dilemmas of winter in Minneapolis.



It's an unusual phenomenon, but when I caught Ben's act at Fringe-For-All and he vaulted into my pre-Fringe Top Ten because of it, he seemed all of his 5 feet, 9 inches in height pacing the floor of the Jeune Lune stage. However, put this guy on the Acadia Stage with a mic in his hand and he seemed, at least to me, I kid you not, about seven feet tall. He's in his element and it shows in the way he carries himself. He's not cocky, by any means. He's just at home up there. You'd never guess this was the first time he had to fill more than ten minutes of time at an open mic at one of the comedy clubs around town. He's that good.



I've said it before and I'll say it again - It's a loose, off-kilter little gem of a show, with half the fun being the jokes and the other half watching him feel out the room and work it for all it's worth. This is a great change of pace to throw into your Fringe day.



Highly recommended.



Next Performance - (tonight!) Tuesday, 8/8 at 5:30pm (only two more after that, Thursday 8/10 at 10pm and Saturday 8/12 at 2:30pm)



While you're at it, check out his website and MySpace pages



www.bensandel.com



www.myspace.com/bensandel



for video clips, written musings, and to find out where he's prowling the comedy stages around town after the Fringe. 'Cause let's face it, we all need a little intelligent, dependable humor these days. I can't hold out til next August.



Tuesday, August 8, 2006 at 11:30 AM

Filed under 4 Star Shows - Excellent


© Matthew A Everett
www.matthewaeverett.com