Part university lecture, part stand-up comedy, part sexy music video, The Psychology of Laughter was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was consistently interesting with patches of riotous hilarity. There was a sign displayed outside the room warning of coarse language and adult themes, and Callan looks a bit of a ruffian, but the show was smart, clean (for the most part) and well thought out.
The Psychology of Laughter revolves around the study of a book by the same name, published in 1913, that Callan unearthed in the markets at the Edinburgh Castle. Callan dissects the text, with relation to modern day examples, with tangents and laughs aplenty. Callan also works in a bit of history of the evolution of humour, pointing out how poking fun at things can change social norms. I now know why lolcats are funny and the design history of the mobile phone.
The show wore a little bit thin when it veered into a series of pictures of the world in 1913 compared to now. Callan peppered the images with commentary, but it became repetitive. However, his witty observations are a treat, and his dance moves are a source of wonder. This hairy funnyman can do Beyonce and Shakira better than Beyonce and Shakira. Callan proved during the course of this show that he is both smart and funny. But I don’t want him for his brain or his sense of humour, I want to watch him shake his booty all night.
Dave Callan in The Psychology of Laughter is on at the Trades Hall, 9:30pm Tues – Sat, 8:30pm Sun, until April 21st.