Nothing's obvious about Glenn Wool's standup
At the Comedy MIX on Thursday, November 24. Continues November 25 and 26
If you were compiling a list of greatest standup comics to come out of Vancouver, Glenn Wool would easily be in the top 10. Unfortunately, it’s all too rare that we get to see the guy. Wool started his career here, but after three years moved to London, where he soon established himself as one of the top international acts in Europe. Wool has spent the bulk of the last 15 years overseas but recently uprooted himself once again and is currently living in Los Angeles.
Thankfully a little piece of Canada remains in his soul. When it was announced the Grey Cup would be held in his former hometown, Wool booked himself into the Comedy MIX for the weekend.
Wool always sounds as if he’s been on an all-night bender, with his rough voice struggling to get by. And his rough-hewn character, complete with tales of drinking and drugging, makes that explanation plausible. (His Drunk Glenn/Sober Glenn/Coked Glenn characterizations are at once hilarious and enlightening.) But a more reasonable explanation is the workout he gives his larynx. Wool holds the mike at his stomach and dramatically shout-preaches his routine, holding all but the terminally distracted captivated for the 45-minute headline spot.
His material on November 24 certainly was catholic, ranging from the religious (Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha as a Justice League of superheroes) to the metaphysical (philosophical cigarette warnings), from the personal (his failed marriage) to the political (Osama bin Laden dating Natalie Wood), from the absurd (the fate of beavers) to the, well, more absurd (man-swan love).
At no time did Wool take the proceedings in an obvious direction. Sure, the beaver story eventually got around to the expected comparison to female genitalia, but it was in no way pun-based or even the point of the story. Rather it was an honest query into how one became synonymous with the other, and it ended with a beautifully sick line.
But even when testing the outer limits of a mainstream audience’s comfort, his accompanying shit-eating grin disarms any overly sensitive groaner in the crowd. He’s clearly having fun and has put a lot of thought into his craft. He may set out to push us a bit, but he’s not looking to ostracize. In fact, his closer on a hammered and closeted God calling homosexuals “faggots” was unpredictably inclusive and earned the biggest laugh from a large group of gay men in the second row.
Now that Wool is just a three-hour plane ride away, here’s hoping our local sports teams give him reason to come home more frequently.