Words: Elodie Marriott
The room is packed for Eric Rushton. All the seats sold out, so people are standing in every available space. Despite his awkward persona, Rushton, wearing a blue windbreaker, is completely unfazed and continues to stare steadily into the room.
He delivers jokes deadpan, often with himself as the subject of mockery. Playing with the audience with ease, Rushton explains that body dysmorphia is when someone thinks they’re ugly but they’re actually not. ‘I’ve got body dysmorphia… Haven’t I?’ he asks, mildly threatening for confirmation. Yet, despite the harsh self-deprecation, he makes it comfortable for us to laugh freely without a trace of pity. A hard feat.
The punchlines are oddball and showcase his unique way of thinking. He’s not trying to convince us of anything. It feels like we’re in his head, floating from one idea to another, whether it’s the realisation that he really dislikes dolphins or his ideal political five-a-side football team. You can tell when an especially good joke is coming up because Rushton slightly breaks character with a subtle smirk, a necessary tell as he does tend to rush these punchlines. Or he’ll just let us know directly: ‘I was creasing when I came up with that.’
He seems incredibly aware of the audience’s reactions and controls the flow of the set accordingly. So even though he assures us at the start that he loves large lulls, Eric Rushton doesn’t get many of those.
Eric Rushton: Not That Deep
Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, Long Room