Last weekend I had the chance to see one of my favourite comedians during Just For Laughs, Neal Brennan. Known as the other head writer of the widely successful Chappelle’s Show, Brennan’s stand-up is very somber and profound as opposed to the very absurd sketches he helped create on the show. You can however see where the similarities lie as Brennan has his many opinions when it comes to politics, relationships, drugs, and love.
For this set in particular, we see a small glass of water on a stool (Neal does not drink) and a white wall filled with what looks like building blocks. These were created by “an artist friend.” There are around 14 of these blocks, some of which take the shape of a dog bone, a gun, and a Black Lives Matter fist. Neal delves into each and every image to guide the audience along his thoughts and feelings on each subject. Neal has always been a strong ally when it comes to the black community, is neither pro or against guns and feels as though in this day and age we often play “conversational Jenga.” What I really enjoy about Brennan’s humour is his incredibly accurate analogies that he uses to paint a picture of his opinions.
Through his set we learn about how he is trying to adjust to the societal pressures of how a human being is supposed to be, the status quo: get married, have children, get a dog. He did obtain one of these things; he got a dog and named it Keith. Unfortunately, though, Keith is not his best friend as they are often advertised. For any fans who watched his very introspective Netflix special 3 Mics you might have already known that he is part of a very big family where simple things such as eating were done in shifts and familial love wasn’t necessarily provided in this home.
Brennan is able to seamlessly go from humour to truly touching moments in his set. As he sits in a chair on stage he looks at his building blocks and states that they have all worked together as an alchemy of a personality. It is very highly recommended to catch him on his podcast “How Neal Feel” or find any snippets of his stand-up if you’re looking for a comic who is highly relatable.
Brennan is currently doing his North American stand-up tour for his special Unacceptable.
Brennan performed as part of Just for Laughs, an annual festival in Montreal, taking place in 2022 from July 13 to 31. Tickets available here.