Monday
Aug 21, 2017
   Fringe review: Instagraham   

Read the original review on edmontonjournal.com.

 

Somewhere at the confluence of social media, stand-up comedy and elderly luddites, Roger Levesque's review of Instagraham was probably inevitable. Rather than a critique of the show, Levesque's review reads more like a complaint about Instagram itself. "If you sense," he concludes, "that much of social media is an escape outlet for lonely people who have way too much time on their hands, subtract two stars." Please sir, tell us what else is wrong with the kids today. What are your opinions on their clothes and music? Do you find them lazy and entitled? Mayhap they've encroached upon your pristine grass? One imagines that, as he bases his opinions on the subject technology rather than the show itself, Levesque would've been better able to relate to Clark's previous show: Graham Clark Reads The Phone Book.

Unsurprisingly for someone who has probably never used Yelp, Levesque doesn't understand star ratings. His review of It's All In The Kilt reads like a glowing five-stars but actually dispenses only three and a half. With Instagraham, he explicitly spells it out. "In the spirit of fairness, give this your own rating," he says. "If you’re an Instagram fanatic like the audience members who laughed loudly and frequently, add two stars." Or, y'know, he could do that for us, because it's his job.

Even his description of the show exposes his ignorance. According to Levesque, Clark "thrills us with his page at Instagram.com." This implies that Clark is merely scrolling through a webpage, riffing jokes off the images. Which he in fact does when he goes through an audience member's feed, but that's not the bulk of the show. There's a very significant difference between that and a scripted and structured comedy show using the best photos from the nearly 1000 Clark has posted to Instagram. In fact, if not for the irresistably low-hanging pun, the show could've worked just as well without referencing Instagram at all. But Levesque, blinded by technophobia, doesn't accept that this is just a higher-tech version of your uncle forcing you to sit through a slide-show of vacation photos, even after quoting Clark when he describes the show as exactly that. "It's a slide show, but pulled from Instagram." "I hate Instagram!" "Well, we're not actually looking at Instagram." "You said this was Instagram! I hate this! Bring me my cane so I can shake it at the modern world!"

In the spirit of fairness, give this review your own rating. If you’re an Instagram hater like the reviewer who let his preoccupation with the medium occlude his enjoyment of the jokes, add two stars. Or if you sense, like myself, that much of social media escapes the understanding of curmudgeonly people who resent being left behind, subtract two stars, and add them to the show's score.