Anthony Jeannot is a raw sort of comedian. Naturally funny (very in fact) but unpolished. Despite being at least thirty, an adult by anyone’s estimation, he exudes a sense of modern youth like few acts I’ve ever seen. That would be the misanthropic kind of modern youth rather than the Instagram influencer kind, as his show makes clear.
Life Coach is a haunted house ride of millennial angst, philosophical in its own manic way, but with an endearing streak of optimism that steers it clear of defeatist or nihilistic. If it has a theme it’s disillusionment, Jeannot ferrying his audience through his personal perspective on becoming an adult. While it has an almost microscopic focus on his own bizarre coming of age, for people in mine and his generation it’s eerily familiar.
Jeannot himself is a huge presence, all expressive face and gesticulating limbs. As thoughtful as Life Coach is, it’s intense exactly where it needs to be, as well as vulgar in all the right places to boot. It’s certainly not for everyone – Jeannot’s finger is far too on the pulse for this to work as well for an older audience as it does for a younger. That’s not to say that people over 40 need not apply, but I’ll put it this way: if you can’t work social media then this probably isn’t going to work for you. Nor is it particularly interested in popular culture, however. Aspiration is an enemy and anxiety is your only friend. This is a show about the existential crises of the twenty-somethings of today. Jeannot isn’t the voice of a generation – who is for ours? What he does is articulate the anguish of growing up to find that your prospects are worse than your parents were and he does it whilst making you laugh a whole lot.
It’s tempting to say Jeannot is self-deprecating, but with ire flying in all directions, I think deprecating period is a better description. Not content to just wallow in negativity, however, he manages to make the bitter a little bit sweeter as he does it.
Grim, sharp, hilarious, and a great Fringe debut. There’s graft to be done for Anthony Jeannot, but he’s working with a lot of raw material.