Who Reviews the Reviewers? (the reviewer reviewer, that’s who)

Reviews and awards will always be subjective. I’m sure everyone has had the experience of reading say, a review of Titanic that says it’s the best film in the world, and denouncing the author of said review as a complete loony whose opinion is worth NOTHING. Or reading Kylie Northover’s 3 star review of The Pajama Men’s ‘The Last Stand to Reason’ and wondering WHAT HER PROBLEM WAS and whether she could recognize genius if it SLAPPED HER ON THE FACE WITH A HERRING (answer: obviously she couldn’t). On the other hand, there are reviewers whose opinions you can trust. If they say a movie or a play or a CD is good, you know you’re bound to like it.

As in every facet of the arts, there are good comedy reviewers and bad comedy reviewers. During festivals, most major newspapers will provide halfway decent coverage, but their arts reviewers won’t necessarily be experts on comedy. Therefore, a great place to look for comedy reviews are sites that write exclusively about comedy. A couple of great ones are Chortle (UK) and The Groggy Squirrel (Australia).

I love The Groggy Squirrel because they don’t use a star rating system, their reviews are long enough that you actually learn what the reviewer thought of the show, and the reviewer puts their own personality into what they write. They’ll come right out and say that they’re not a big fan of, say, Tom Gleeson, but the rest of the audience enjoyed the show, and if you’re a fan of Gleeson then the show is a must-see. Or whatever. I particularly like that they don’t rate the shows. Rating ANYTHING out of 5 or 10 is a ridiculously simplistic way of critiquing art. Without the first impression of a rating, you’re forced to actually read the review!

If crappy, inaccurate, autobiographical, ignorant reviews bother you, or if you just want a laugh, check out The Reviewer Reviewer, dropping truth bombs about Australia’s arts critics! I particularly like the review of Helen Razer’s reviews. That woman is a twit.

a bunny with a pancake on its head

A picture of a rabbit, because Lexxie said there weren’t enough pictures on the blog.


About whoseroses

Rose is an arts administrator from Victoria, BC. She has worked at some of Canada's biggest and best festivals, including the Victoria Fringe Festival, Just for Laughs in Montreal, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and the Victoria Film Festival. She co-founded the Winnipeg Spoken Word Festival, and helped produce the Victoria Spoken Word Festival. Rose is passionate about theatre, spoken word, comedy, and her community. She runs on festivals.
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2 Responses to Who Reviews the Reviewers? (the reviewer reviewer, that’s who)

  1. C-Love says:

    I LOVE the pajama men. I saw them when they came to perform with some vancouver dudes.
    you like good things. or we both like bad things.
    you can choose! i don’t want the responsibility of this subjective hole.

    • whoseroses says:

      I’ve seen three shows of theirs now, and they are all SO AMAZING. So we clearly like good things. They won the top Australian comedy award last year, for Pete’s sake!

      You would also really like The Cody Rivers Show. They’re from Bellingham, Washington. Hopefully they come back to Victoria soon!

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