Jhere’s a choice joke, halfway through the Travis Jay show, about therapists — which Jay approaches, he tells us, with the same skepticism he reserves for magicians. And yet, the best thing about his show, Son of David, is the therapeutic mindset, as Jay recounts growing up and out of the shadow of his badass dad. Jay dadThe presence of in the audience tonight gives this material an extra thrill – and certainly his son is performing out of his skin, injecting energy and bonhomie into the room as he delivers a likeable but loose set on paternity, the filial bond and getting to know one’s emotions.
Some key routines may be familiar to those who saw Jay’s 2019 show Funny, Petty, Cool, in which he addressed – as he does here – his difficulty with crying when his beloved grandfather died. . But the routine is worth revisiting, as the destitute grandson, the floodgates finally open, lets out sob after intemperate sob while being transfixed by his reflection in the mirror. Fans of Jay will also recognize from this “brand new show” his routine of inadvertently leading a Black Lives Matter march, a version of which he’s been performing since at least 2018.
He finds him striking an amusing pose, mind you – that of the black man enthusiastically swept up in the tale of his own persecution. It’s typical of a comic who takes racism seriously (especially as a father) but refuses to be oppressed by it. Witness the endearing lightness of a setting in which black aliens pilot their flying saucer towards Earth and are brought to meet – there is a beautiful mimicry here – the very disappointing leader of Great Britain.
Through these routines and tales of Jay’s married life, growing professional success, and relocating to the countryside, the show builds nicely with our host’s macho heritage in mind. Its final stages, however, seem locked in, as Jay abandons that theme in favor of two free-roaming sections on R Kelly and the Mafia.
It’s not the sturdiest build, but Son of David is still nice. Jay is an exuberant presence in the driver’s seat, and his shots at the height of his alpha dad are thoughtful and heartfelt.