Axel Blake: In Style.

Gorilla Specials: Axel Blake Shows Why He Won Britain’s Got Talent ‘In Style’

Watching Axel Blake is like watching the coolest person you know perform stand-up. There’s a lot of movement, a lot of friendly punchlines, and an incredibly accessible point of view in his act, which helped win him top prize on Britain’s Got Talent recently. Capitalizing on all of this, he’s designed a special that plays to his strengths, and lets you know he’s arrived on the scene with his latest, In Style. Lest anyone forget, the stage design includes his name as a flexy throwback to the days where Comedy Central was putting out similarly swaggy specials. 

Axel Blake: In Style.
Axel Blake. Courtesy of 800 Pound Gorilla.

Axel Blake is as poised as one can be in stand-up.

The precision Blake performs with is remarkable, and calls to mind the fun and delightful Gina Yashere, as he moves a foot just so, contours his body just so, positions himself for the audience just so to help sell a joke. We so often forget that comedy is about timing, and Blake has it coming out his ears, and then some. He delivers light crowd-pleasing bits with ease as the audience cracks up, creating a tornado of laughter that breaks and ascends into the sky above Blake and the colorful sign reminding everyone who they’re there to support. With each new quick pose or fun silly movement, the audience breaks harder and harder, until it gets hard to hear Blake over the laughter.

Axel Blake is relatable, feeling like someone you know rather than someone famous.

Blake’s material is almost family friendly…almost. He’s certainly relatable, having awkward doctor’s appointments, family coming out of the woodwork when he got famous, and trying to decide if he should do a “naked helicopter dance” with his penis if he wins Britain's national talent contest. These experiences make him a universally adaptable comic, and position him as someone who can bring generations of fans together who are just looking to feel seen after a long week, a long shift, or just want a fun night out. Accessible comedy is hard, since there needs to be a consistent promise of being “the same old person” that a comic was before they became famous, even if that’s a lie that gets bigger with each hour. However, Blake, right here and now, at the start of it all, makes it look so easy, and doesn’t appear to show signs of getting too big for his audience. 

Axel Blake tells jokes like he’s at the pub going off.

There’s craft in Blake’s jokes, but the crucial thing about why they work is that they sound possible. There’s a grounded language that makes the audience think they could also tell jokes, even if they’re not as good as Blake’s. This is because they sound like bar grousing in a way that’s familiar and funny, fostering a sense of intimacy that puts the audience at ease. Yes, there’s a stage, and yes there’s strange fog that seems to exist just on that stage, but the diction is of someone you know, not someone trying to explicitly impress you. In comedy, this may be the hardest trick to pull off, since language helps jokes ping in new ways, getting weirder and bouncier as the verbiage expands. Here, Blake has found a way to maximize his relatability without sacrificing the engagement of what he aims to do on stage. This may change in the future, but for now, he’s working his own way to the top In Style

Axel Blake: In Style. Courtesy of 800 Pound Gorilla.
Axel Blake: In Style. Courtesy of 800 Pound Gorilla.

Axel Blake's latest stand-up special, In Style, is available now exclusively on 800 Pound Gorilla. Watch here!

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