St. Lou Fringe Review – Andrew Frank: Benign Violation

Andrew Frank is a local comedian who brings his stand up routine, “Andrew Frank: Benign Violation,” to the Kranzberg Arts Center Gallery as part of the 2017 St. Lou Fringe Festival.  I wasn’t expecting a stand-up routine to be a part of the festival, as it typically attracts more theatrical performances.  And Frank did introduce himself as doing a one man show.  But a stand-up routine is really what he delivered.  I have to admit, it felt a bit out of place to me.

Frank’s routine covered a lot of the usual comic topics:  religion, gun control, the education system, current events, and religion.  Did I mention religion?  If you’re easily offended by religious jokes, I would not recommend attending future performances.  If you have more of an open mind and don’t get offended easily, you’ll probably laugh a lot.  The audience seemed to enjoy a lot of his religious humor.

Frank definitely had fans in the audience.  There were a few people he called out by name, and a small group of attendees apparently went to high school with him.  At times, I felt like I was being left out of an inside joke when he would speak to them about certain things that happened in school or at past shows.

Whether he asked for it or not, there was a lot of audience interaction with the comedian.  And he would respond to people when they would speak up.  To Frank’s credit, he acknowledged the comments made from the attendees, but never let it get out of control.

There didn’t seem to be a lot of structure when it came to the end of his routine.  It was like he was really just trying to fill time and would take a few moments before thinking of what joke to tell.  At one point, he mentioned, “I’m trying to think of what else you guys haven’t heard.”  Which, again, made me feel like I wasn’t part of the group of people who he had brought in to watch his performance.

It was an intimate audience in the Gallery in the late evening, which suits a stand-up routine just fine.  There were issues with sound, though.  Frank’s microphone would cut in and out quite a bit.  And when it wasn’t cutting out, it was very loud.  At times it felt like he was screaming at me.  But that could be because I was sitting next to one of the speakers.  And once the other shows in the Kranzberg Arts Center started letting out and gathering in the lobby, much of their noise spilled over into the Gallery, making it distracting.

In the end, Frank didn’t really break new ground in his joke telling.  Some of them had to be explained to the audience, which can take away from the humor.  But some of his one liners were very clever and made me say, “Ah, I see what you did there.”  Overall, it wasn’t my particular brand of humor.  But a good portion of the audience really seemed to enjoy him.

Andrew Frank has two more shows as part of the St. Lou Fringe Festival on Saturday, August 19 at 6:00 pm and Sunday, August 20 at 4:00 pm.  To learn more about him, you can visit his website at http://www.andrewfrankcomedy.com/.

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