Best Medicine Gala review – uplifting stream of health consciousness
Angel Comedy Club online
Comedians led by Jordan Brookes and Tim Key turn lockdown worries into riffs on parenting, personality and body hair in a night of infectious live fun
“Let’s do it. Tonight. Let’s fix mental health.” That’s Jordan Brookes talking, not the first man to whom I’d trust my mental wellbeing. But maybe he should be? After all, “comedy can destigmatise, normalise and raise awareness of mental health issues” – or so claims the Best Medicine festival, which marks one year of lockdown by exploring how those two worlds meet. Brookes appeared in this gala show on the festival’s final weekend, with a set that parlayed self-loathing, anxiety and regret into 10 vital minutes of comedy.
One of the (rare) upsides of Zoom comedy has been watching experimental comedians adjust their shtick to new exigencies. Brookes is a restless trickster on stage, but Zoom has introduced a more intimate note to his performances. Here, we find him lodged in his parents’ house, working on self-improvement (“I’ve somehow managed to worry myself buff”) – then haunting the girl who spurned him at primary school. The laughs come from Brookes’s amusement at the depths of his own dysfunction, and the hubris of self-healing while the world burns.