I absolutely remember seeing the movie Space Jam in theatres. It was ‘96, I was 7 years old and hardly ready to see such a transcendent cinematic experience. Its soundtrack would accompany me on almost every single road trip for the next decade not to mention the classic ‘Hit ‘em High’ showing up on the majority of my burned CDs well into the 2000s. Stand up comic Greg Houston knows that there’s no truer way to a 90s kid’s heart than through nostalgia and his new show Space Jameration (coming hot off the Fresh Meat circuit) is meant to be a humorous reflection on this idea. This performance is definitely still a work in progress, which becomes very apparent at times on stage, but I think to Houston’s credit there are some genuinely funny bits that would make this piece a slam dunk were it a little more polished.
The show is divided into chapters that are supposed to address certain aspects of that define the ‘Space Jameration’, or the generation who grew up during the incredible Space Jam hype, like the movie’s premiere, its merchandise, and being weirdly attracted to Lola Bunny. Houston also weaves elements of his own life into these chapters in classic stand-up fashion, opening up about his relationship with his parents (and vis-a-vis alcohol) and dating. His self-deprecating comic style is engaging and there are some LOL-worthy moments that includes my favourite line regarding the insanely high calibre of artists featured on the ‘Hit ‘em High’ track (seriously, look it up).
Unfortunately, in this particular performance there appeared to be a number of moments where Houston loses track of the show, or at least his place in it, and it takes a little too long for him to rein it back in which can make it a little uncomfortable to watch. Chapter 9, for example, is titled ‘Fuck the Academy’ but Houston never ends up talking about the Academy because he goes on a tangent about something completely different before jumping right into Chapter 10. There was a rather ill-prepared guest segment scene featuring fellow Fringe artist Deborah Ring of Deb Talks which is a great premise, but going forward this week this bit could really benefit from having a few basic questions prepped to eliminate some of the dead air that comes out of the duo’s ad-libbing.
Having a bit more of an audience might benefit this show as well seeing as how stand-up comics are very much dependent on their audience’s energy and having a stand-up comedy show at 6:00pm on a Thursday can be a bit of a hard sell. Overall, I want to really like this show because I like Space Jam, but it feels like as an audience member you have to work far too hard to keep the energy afloat. Space Jameration has potential to be a knockout special but in its current iteration it still has a ways to go.
Written and performed by Greg Houston
Venue 1 Arts Court Theatre