Cognitive Behavioural Terrorist

‘Cognitive Behavioural Terrorist’ // Bris Funny Fest

‘Cognitive Behaviour Terrorist’ was specific. 

Bris Funny Fest kicked off on August 7th, showcasing a range of local and national comedians from various styles and in a variety of locations. Last weekend Sean Quinn presented his show ‘Cognitive Behavioural Terrorist’ at the Heya Bar, one of several in a lineup for the evening. 

As the first performer of the night, the pressure was on, and unfortunately, delays in traffic meant that many audience members arrived late. These interruptions did not go unnoticed as Quinn attempted to make light of the situation several times. 

Sean Quinn is a social worker by day, stand up comic by night, and his show looks to explore the basics of his work and the theories that support it. For those familiar with psychotherapy the title will make sense, for those who are not it is a play on CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy. A practice which seeks to solve behavioural problems by addressing a client’s beliefs and attitudes towards given situations or events.

Psychotherapy is an arguably mundane field, and ‘Cognitive Behavioural Terrorist’ is a very obvious and logical treatment strategy. Together they may make for an intriguing discussion over wine, but they were not quite at home on the comedy stage. The content of Quinn’s set was challenging and as such, the show never really took off. 

In introducing ‘Cognitive Behavioural Terrorist’ Quinn described it as half comedy, half terrible TED talk and this self-deprecation somewhat set the tone. Some of the theory incorporated was dry and specific, and audience members with a background in the field may have felt more at home. Regardless, the talk was educational, and Quinn did well to have audiences explore the boundary between learning and laughing. 

Apart from expository content and one-liners, Quinn also included anecdotes about his experience as an Irish immigrant, a cleverly crafted flipbook, and audience interactions that ended in spilt lemonade. 

All three aspects were a little hit and miss as he jumped from one comedy style to the next. However, there was real potential to develop these further, particularly the flipbook which included familiar diagrams with humorous scenarios.

While there were times when Quinn displayed a strong stage presence, with his affability and mild Irish accent, he may have relied too heavily on his microphone stand. It became a safety blanket and made him appear more nervous than he probably was. 

Although ‘Cognitive Behaviour Terrorist’ was mostly informative, it did have moments of humour sprinkled throughout, and encouraged audience members to reflect on the usefulness of CBT in their own lives.

‘Cognitive Behavioural Terrorist’ performed at Heya Bar in Fortitude Valley, as part of the 2019 Bris Funny Fest. For more information about the festival, visit Bris Funny Fest’s Website.

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