I always have a degree of admiration for those who learn a second language. I did French lessons for nearly 10 years at school and ordering a beer is about the limit of my linguistic power. To learn a second language, and then decide to perform a comedy show in that language is truly amazing.
It is often remarked that the English language is exceptionally difficult for non-native speakers to learn because of the silly rules, silent letters and sounds that don’t even exist in other dialects. While you might have a bit of a laugh about the needless complexities, you perhaps wouldn’t attempt to construct a whole show out of it, because there will come a time where the point becomes laboured.
For Ismo, I would say there was perhaps 30 minutes of good content on the subject, exploring how ‘shit’ is such a deep and complex term, and his difficulty with the world squirrel. There were roughly as many jokes that worked as fell flat though, and a lot of the laughter was polite more than belly-busting.
The biggest issue with the set was the lack of pace and variety. Although in many ways it was interesting to hear a non-native speaker’s experiences with English, it felt less of a comedy routine and more of a lecture by a guest speaker who fancied himself ‘down with the kids’.
Again, though, I really cannot emphasize enough how much respect I have for Ismo for doing an English show. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be. There just wasn’t enough content to sustain the hour, and it subsequently felt flat.