An American in London (Stand-up Review: “Rob Delaney: Jackie”)

Co-creator/star of the hit Amazon series Catastrophe, Rob Delaney shares some insights on his American expat family’s life in London

SnapShot Plot

If you can hear beyond the steady stream of expletives to the self-deprecating and embarrassing inner workings of Rob Delaney’s brain, then Rob Delaney: Jackie is for you. Filmed in London, the family’s home base for the last several years, Delaney is at his best when the subject matter is his three sons, the youngest just a year old. If there’s ever been an elephant on the stage, it’s the fact that Delaney would have been the father of four boys if not for the tragic death of his son Henry to a rare brain tumor in 2018. In fact, perhaps gratefully, the topic never comes up in the show.

Fans of Rob Delaney from his brilliant work with partner Sharon Horgan on the Amazon comedy series Catastrophe (a Norma’s favorite) are well aware of the nightmare journey the family endured. Indeed, Delaney has become an outspoken advocate for parents not only struggling with the unspeakable horror of childhood terminal diagnoses, but too the murky maze of the U.S. healthcare system. His admiration for Britain’s NHS is clear. As are his liberal, progressive politics that come with a seething animus toward Donald Trump. Thankfully only a small portion of the show resides in that neighborhood, yet to a certain segment of the audience, that may be enough to call it quits entirely. To others, the heavy dose of crude humor might prove a cause-for-pause, notwithstanding how shockingly funny were the bits on geriatric sexbots, struggles with masturbating in a mental hospital, home water births or encounters with exhibitionists in public parks.

Parting Shot

If it sounds like I’m panning Rob Delaney: Jackie, I assure you that’s not the case. In fact, there were so many purely distilled moments of hilarity – mostly family-centric – that I can’t help but wonder how much better this show could be if the raconteur Delaney would step closer to the mic and the class clown Delaney could take just a wee step back.

Rob Delaney: Jackie is presently streaming on Amazon Prime.

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  • Rick Cowan says:

    Though I rarely disagree with your reviews, Norma, this one seems off to me. Delaney comes across as arrogant and rude in recounting how he gives money to pathetic homeless people so his kids will think him a hero. Though I’m no prude, his comparing his genitals to those of his kids in front of them seemed borderline perverse rather than funny to this viewer.

    • Norma says:

      Rick, it’s opinions such as yours that make Norma’s Streaming Picks such a labor of love. To say I value constructive criticism and thoughtful feedback would be an understatement. I too wavered on precisely the points you’ve made, and I believe my admiration for the series, Catastrophe may have influenced my overall subscription to Delaney’s often off-putting slice of funny. Ultimately, I found it more a worthwhile performance than a cringe-worthy one, but I totally ‘get’ why you were underwhelmed. Thank you and I hope you continue to review my Picks, Rick!

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