Australian story teller Jon Bennett returns to the Montreal Fringe with his new one-man show Story Whore. Looking at the titles of Bennett’s previous Fringe shows (Pretending Things are a Cock and Fire in The Meth Lab) is a quick way to prepare yourself for what you can expect this time ‘round. Some of its silly, some of its serious, thankfully all of it’s entertaining.

Bennett’s past shows have included stories of his ultra-religious father and meth dealing brother. Now that he’s run out of interesting stories to share of other people, what’s a story teller to do? Inspired by a Montreal (or likely whatever city you catch the show in) airport security guard who questions whether he knows what love is, Bennett guides the audience on an epic journey through the soaring highs and dramatic lows of his romantic relationships.

A quick look at Bennett’s website demonstrates that story telling is perhaps his life’s greatest passion. I missed his past Fringe shows, but it’s clear Bennett has worked hard at crafting an anecdote just right. Whether it’s deciding which exact moment to use voice inflections, or incorporating real and re-imagined items from his life, it’s all part of a goal to gain your sympathy and trust.

As an audience member you know you’re being manipulated. While the real names of people in the stories have been obviously changed, you can’t help but wonder how one would feel knowing Bennett was traveling around the world sharing personal details of your relationship. Or how much of these stories are exaggerated, or even true.

But Bennett is such a good performer you never cling to those feelings for long. It’s much more fun to just go along for the ride. Because seriously, when else in your life will you see a man in his thirties run around in a dress while recounting a sad childhood memory?

Story Whore plays until June 21st at Café Campus.

Jon Bennett never set out explore the deepest recesses of the human condition with his comedy show Pretending Things Are A Cock. But the show is a provocative, painfully hysterical commentary on society’s obsession with dick jokes.

Pretending Things Are A Cock, which is part of this year’s Zoofest comedy festival, centers around the mother of all dick jokes: holding vaguely dick-shaped things at crotch level and snapping photos to show all your friends and have a laugh. It never gets old and we’ve all done it.

Bennett was taken by surprise when this most enjoyable of pastimes took on a life of its own and catapulted the humble dick joke to epic, worldwide conquest. No monument is left untouched. No object, however misshapen, is safe from becoming the butt of this joke.

Many years and hundreds of photos later, Bennett has curated the best of his collection into the show. The photos are brought to life with his incredibly engrossing storytelling. The storyline meanders through tales from his childhood, growing up with his dick-obsessed bully of a brother to lifelong bonds forged in moments of desperation on his travels.

jon bennett zoofest-014Pretending Things Are A Cock is one man’s quest to understand his own preoccupation with pretending phallic objects are his dick. But it’s something that is so relatable it unifies us all. The cock in all its various forms is forever hilarious, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or maturity level.

* Photos by Chris Zacchia

Pretending Things Are A Cock is showing tonight, July 17 at Katacombes at 11:30 p.m. See the Zoofest website for more info.

Fire in the Meth Lab is fucking hilarious!

“Everyone just wants to do what they love in life. My brother was lucky, he got to make meth. He loved it so much he even brought it home with him…” starts versatile comedian Jon Bennett. Jon tells the story of his asshole brother Tim, who went to jail for burning down a biker gang’s meth lab and stealing all their meth. Not quite the usual recipe for a side-splitting hour of comedy but this guy is funny. Practically every little bit and story is laugh out loud funny!

Jon takes us through his relationship with his brother growing up. A sampling of stories include his brother pissing on a seal, his brother sticking his dick in Jon’s ear, them attending Jesus camp then receiving an impromptu exorcism… it goes on.

Putting acid in his parents’ drinks before church… Where his father was the minister! (Best sermon E-V-E-R!)

Jon goes through his brother’s various life addictions in an attempt to discover how to love his asshole of a brother and comes away from it with an unorthodox but nonetheless heartwarming tale.

I definitely recommend this show. Jon Bennett is a whirlwind of comedy! If you didn’t get a chance to see him at this year’s Fringe Festival, he will be performing Pretending Things Are A Cock as part of the Zoofest comedy festival in July. See their website for more details.