Sandwiches and soul-searching from the Finchley funnyman
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It's a mark of Ivor Dembina's enduring comic ability that he can lasso in his audience with the unpromising contents of his sandwich in a "Guess-the-contents-of-Ivor's-sandwich" opening routine to his experimental show. But that's the kind of guy he is.
Using the sandwich as a comic fulcrum in an interactive, freeform performance, the Finchley-raised funnyman homes in on what caused him to get in a tizz and forget his sandwich that day - a four-star review in The Scotsman for Lewis Schaffer, "the most successful American Jewish comedian based in Peckham" as the latter likes to think of himself" - in which Ivor had featured. As the butt of said Peckham comedian's humour.
With his on-off-on-off friend helpfully in the audience, there followed a hilarious 45 minutes in which Ivor's dry-as-dust wit was spray-joked with Schaffer's waspish ripostes and the occasional comic contribution from the 11 others in the intimate basement venue.
As Ivor's angsty soul-searching took hold, the show veered between self-deprecating comedy and group analysis.
Even your reviewer got reeled in, after threatening a one- or two-star review.."Bring him up on stage for a second - just make him squirm a bit," urged the Brooklyn-born Schaffer. "Punish him now."
"Kill, kill, kill!" added an audience member.
But with the heat off, and Ivor appealing for £1 - "or if you don't wanna put £1, then £2" - it was all over. Great value. And free!
Laughing Horse at City Cafe, until 29 August