Published Sep 06, 2016Connecticut native and former cast member of NBC's Undateable, Brent Morin, takes a novel approach for his Netflix special I'm Brent Morin. The entire set is weaved around one prolonged and tangent-riddled story, which endlessly segues to transform what could be a three-minute story into a 67-minute stream of consciousness narrative.
Before the performance begins, there is an added skit backstage with fellow comedian Adam Ray, who asks if the girl Brent's been texting will be coming to the show. This exchange acts as a prologue for the theme of the special. Morin is a man who believes in the redeeming power of love but, unfortunately, something always seems to go wrong. In this instance, before going onstage, a girl spills a drink on his "Drake sweater," rattling him right as he is about to perform in front of this woman.
Morin begins his set by ingratiating himself to his New York audience, pointing out their friendly "taxpayer" demeanour and by jocularly prodding them to shut up so he can focus. He sets up his relationship with the crowd in an amicable manner, then jumps into the story that his act is centered around: a girl leaving him for a magician. Morin recounts this tale like a guy admitting an embarrassing story to his friends at the bar. It's full of self-deprecation, excuses, and forced honesty.
As he progresses, Morin, as all good story tellers do, uses asides to clarify turns of phrases, contextualize emotions and provide exposition. Yet, unlike traditional orators, his tangents are often ridiculous, irrelevant or unconnected to the story; they are in reality an opportunity to diversify the set and stretch his legs.
In this way, Morin's approach is quintessentially millennial: it is hyper-referential, lacks a clear area of focus, and frequently acknowledges its own absurdity. Even when his tangents stray far for too long, he wins back the crowd by gracelessly diving back into the story. While some comedians wouldn't get away with that lack of subtlety, Morin's digressions are charming, engaging and surpass the attraction of the original train of thought; the audience doesn't often realize how far he has strayed from the path until he brings it back.
That said, some bits do go on for too long and disrupt the show's flow by being over-performed, namely his father becoming a gnome. But these overdrawn portions of the show are rare. Morin's relatable bits about the audacity of having to read out loud, best friends being your worst friends, and teenage sexual encounters help explain why men like him are stuck in a state of arrested development and why modern relationships are an ever-evolving enigma.
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