I have been a fan of Neil Thornton since I first saw him perform, primarily because he is one of those great comics that can make you laugh and think at the same time. Tonight I discovered he can also have you make you cry tears of joy and sadness simultaneously as well.

Thornton starts off the night by letting us know that even though it may get dark at times, he is fine, and it will get funny again.  He then proceeds to charm the audience with some slightly self-deprecating jokes; he acknowledges that it is opening night and, with reference to Outliers (novel by Malcolm Gladwell), that it is okay to not be perfect, as even the Beatles were not perfect when they first played the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

He tells the story of when he obtained what he thought was the dream, and how he was in fact miserable, and then the impact that hurricane Katrina had on that part of his life.  He bounces in and out of this story in order to keep the mood light, and for the most part the segues work.  Obviously, it does work out in the end, but Thorntons talent in being able to tell the tale of one of the worst times of his life in a way that makes you laugh and cry and relate to his journey is remarkable.  He refers back to his collection of about 20 or so self-help books that are on display throughout the evening, wrapping up this section by letting us know that “nothing will make you hate yourself more than a book about how to love yourself”.

We are then introduced to the concept of the Mind Monkey, and get to meet a few of his; the crowd may be small but everyone is laughing.  His mix of intelligent, insightful humour, as always, leaves me with tears rolling down my face and sore cheeks from laughing so hard.  This may not be a show for people who take self-help books seriously, but it is a show for those of us who may sometimes take our ‘journey of self-discovery’ a little bit too seriously and need to learn to laugh at ourselves.

Originally posted at artmurmurs.nz on 28/02/2016

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