The Cambridge Geek

Alex Edelman's Peer Group

Millennials again. I think I am one, so best have a listen.

As might be obvious, this is Alex Edelman, doing stand-up. He does also occasionally have a clip of one of his peers (hence "peer group") popping in to offer an opinion.

The concept is interesting. Episode one is about social media (really just Twitter), and how you can use it to more or less destroy your life. The single example of Justine Sacco is given, to show how the hate machine can spring into action pretty damn quickly. It also subsides quick, it would seem, given she recovered her PR position later.

These flash mobs have been talked about seriously fairly frequently, and the majority of people are slowly learning to self-censor in such a way as to avoid any possible risk of offending the crowd. This gets into ethical philosophy territory almost immediately, with the idea of epression of opinion (even unpalatable) being balanced against the self-correction nature of society to ostracise those who disrupt the orderly running of that society.

That isolation used to only be caused by severe mis-steps, with it being achievable by those close to you and them having to take significant steps to do it. It also has elements of power imbalance inherent in it, such that those in privileged positions could get away with far more. See any sexual harassment issue that's only been dealt with recently.

Now, all it takes is three people on twitter to tag your employer in a reply to your tweet and you're likely fired. These are important changes to the way society works. Which is why Edelman mostly tells you about that time he got a few hundred retweets by posting a saccharine story of school children singing Happy Birthday.

It's a trivial show. Edelman has a few good jokes of his own, with a particularly decent piece about Jesus only having twelve followers (compare Space Jesus Mark Hamill's millions). And there's a nice try at looking at the obsession Americans have with their "soldiers coming home from war, aw shucks aren't they the best" videos. But it's all very vague.

This is true of both content and style. He is not a well flowing talker, with that unfortunate tic of using "like" instead of "um", which I had thought we'd all moved on from. I was certainly guilty of it a few years back, but it's something that's receded enough from collective speech that it's very obvious here. Also painful are those previously mentioned interjections from his chums. I don't know why they're there, given the low value of the contributions, and they're cut in really badly, with a sudden chopping halfway through a sentence. Could have easily been skipped.

Possibly a subjective taste issue, but this feels too arrogant, and comes from someone who does not demonstrate enough comedic chops to back that swagger up. It also lacks a satisfying finale, simply petering-out towards the end. Will not be listening to the rest.

Score 2

Tagged: Radio Comedy Monologue Stand-up Autobiographical