Review: Adam Buxton serves up the Best of Bug at Colston Hall

20th August 2017

Kicking off this year’s Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival was Adam Buxton presenting the Best of Bug, his showcase for interesting, weird and creative music videos. The Festival is now in its 23rd outing, so welcoming the cult comedian with his long-running and popular Bug enterprise was a savvy move, ensuring a warm crowd basking in the familiarity of Buxton’s charming presentation.

Giving what is indeed a presentation suits Buxton perfectly. He follows a script as he reels off a number of music videos by artists as diverse as De Staat and Katy Perry, displaying a genuinely deep knowledge and love of the genre while never taking it too seriously. Missy Elliot offers her freshly shaved pubes in her famous video for ‘Work It’ while James van der Beek (from Dawson’s Creek)’s tears are ridiculed in a gif-heavy video for The Shoes’ ‘Drifted’.

Elsewhere, music video pioneers OK Go pop paint-filled balloons in zero-gravity and Buffalo New York metalcore band Every Time I Die thrash around in the dreary winter of their hometown. The showing of the latter video demonstrates just how close Buxton’s fans feel to him. He apologises for showing the video, expecting there to be “more metalcore fans in the crowd”. “We forgive you!” a punter shouts back, which Buxton remarks upon as a particularly friendly bit of heckling.

To add texture and humour to the show, Buxton punctuates the music videos with bizarre clips of his own making, self-deprecating jabs (“I’m like a fun teacher!” and the lampooning of Youtube comments from the pretentious to the illiterate and the mean. Best of all is his expose of an angry Twitter user who threatens to “delete” Buxton’s podcast if he doesn’t promptly make another one, and has a history of making amusingly irate demands of corporations.

While Buxton’s comedy is never cutting edge, it excels in its warmth and in making it clear that he is just as much of a buffoon as those he pokes fun at. He asks the sign language interpreter to translate “I’m gonna stick my cock in the floppy drive”, content that in the mouths of other comedians would be crude and base. From Buxton, it is cuddly.

Conal Dougan