MONTREAL – About a quarter of the way through Jamie Kilstein’s one-man show last night at Theatre Ste Catherine, I began thinking: this dude has the rhythm of a slam poet— the way he motors through monologues with precision, playing with intonation, being mindful of the mix of mono and multi-syllabic words, plain and fancy words, the word “fuck” and its variations, the concept of crescendos, respites and sweet release.
And then I remembered reading a line in his bio a few years ago explaining that he was, indeed, an award winning slam poetry champ.
I’d admittedly forgotten that piece of Kilstein history and instead held on not to the way he delivers but what he delivers. I think the reason for that is this: his album Zombie Jesus, released by Stand Up! Records last year (released in limited copy version in 2008 as Please Buy My Jokes) – it’s an album that landed him the title of Punchline Magazine’s comic to watch in 2009 – proved as shining proof of how Kilstein is breathing new life into socio-political-minded comedy.
But the album, as great as it is, didn’t quite have the raging heartbeat of Kilstein’s show last night. Indeed, the hour long No War, No God, No Nickelback is not for those looking for a light-hearted, knee slapping good time. Instead, it’s the kind of show that illicits hearty clapping – like the kind you’d find at a demonstration – and the occasional manly “YEAH!” from the crowd upon the comic nailing one of many arguments in support of gay marriage or atheism or women’s rights.
While No War is decidedly heavy on politics and religion, toward the end, before his final rant, in which he uses the rock band Nickelback as a symbol for all that is wrong with the arts, his pace slows and Kilstein gives us a clue as to where the 28-year-old is coming from. A story about how his younger brother Nick convinced the comic that their father, was, in fact, not the complete asshole Jamie thought he was is sobering, honest and shows Kilstein as a guy that, although has a lot of well-researched and expertly presented opinions, may not always be right or have the best judgment when it comes to emotional matters.
It makes the heady comic more human and likable, and gives you another reason to check out his show, which runs again tonight and Saturday. Info and tickets here.