Review: The Angry Boater – Joel Sanders nitpicks his way through a new nautical solo show

Joel Sanders – Angry Boater  

Joel Sanders is angry. This could be down to the fact his parents went against their Jewish-ness and sent him to a Christian school. Perhaps it’s due to his high blood pressure, which he makes a point of taking on stage. Or maybe it’s because living the life of Riley on London’s canalways isn’t as relaxing as the comedian thought it would be.

Born and raised Jew-ish – the laidback kind that eat “circumcised pigs” – in Ruislip, Sanders has remained loyal to our busy capital. Apart from the few years he spent in America, which he’ll be sure to vent to you about in the show. The 40-something comic once taught English at northwest London’s Haydon School, before devoting all his time to the Comedy Bunker club, also in Ruislip. Then one day the stress of city life became too much and, against his father’s advice – “Jews don’t live on boats” – Sanders bought a boat.

Split into two 40-minute halves, The Angry Boater is loaded with absurd anecdotes. Have you ever been shouted at for putting rubbish in a bin? Sanders has. How about being ignored by a coal-toting Frenchman? Because Sanders has checked that one off too. In fact some of his stories are so laughable that they seem unreal, until you notice fellow boaters in the audience grinning and nodding in agreement.

Like many pro funnymen, Sanders is affable and unassuming, dressed simply in a plain black t-shirt and jeans. He looks a bit like a dad and has a habit of waffling on like one too, but the wait for his punchlines is always worth it. And they’re not all nautical either. Sanders weaves in enough general gripes to keep us land-dwellers happy. After all, you need only be human to understand just how frustrating a trip to Homebase can get. And while these stressful encounters may be pushing Sanders’ blood pressure to new heights, his accounts of them are raising laughs.

By Danielle Goldstein

The Angry Boater runs every Tuesday until 17 March. 7.30pm. £10, £7 adv. The Bargehouse, 46a De Beauvoir Crescent, N1 5RY. www.angryboater.com