Review: Jamie Campbell brings the big laughs with BIG DAD ENERGY at Stomping Ground Comedy Theater

 Big Dad Energy

A Stand-Up Comedy Show with Jamie Campbell

Reviewed by Natalie Shaw

As a Gen-X mother of two young boys and a former middle school teacher, Jamie Campbell's jokes hit dead center with me. He's not a dad, himself, but he totally gets where we're coming from. His jokes on childhood, parenting, discipline, and marriage are some of the funniest-- and truthful-- I've ever heard! 

Some comedians can tell one-liner jokes for an hour that earn a few chuckles, but as we know, some jokes hit and some jokes fall flat. This is not the case with Jamie. He takes us on a journey, but first he spits some mad rhymes about parenthood-- then he initiates trust by opening up about a big choice he was faced with, as he nears middle age-- to father or not to father. On our travels through Big Dad Energy, we experience a bit of what childhood was like for Jamie, what parenting would be like for him and how marriage has impacted him and his career. 

(Photo by Jennifer Bennett)
If you were born before the early 2000s, you experienced life before Facebook and Amazon took over the world. Those of us who were at the cusp of the home-computer era are all too familiar with navigating life between using the Dewy Decimal system and finding periodic journals online to write our high school and college research papers. In our younger years, the Valentine's class party was the highlight of elementary school, and getting a treat bag from a birthday party was a luxury, not an expectation. It was a little more difficult to find novelty items for a group of fifteen kids, than it is today. Amazon allows us to find these trinkets, throw them in a digital cart, purchase, and have them on our doorstep in two days! Much easier than a trip to the store! Jamie tells a brief story of being a young boy who lived through the injustice of his special novelty "pumpkin" eraser being high-jacked by another kid, and in his efforts to retrieve it, he becomes prey to he teacher, who intends to use the paddle on the "pumpkin-swiper" and Jamie, himself! Lets just say, Jamie was his own hero in this situation. Not only are we laughing hysterically at the situation, because we have, in fact, survived similar trauma in our youth, we are brought to tears in our laughter at the artful way in which ten year-old Jamie rescues himself. 

(Photo by Thomas Rex)
As an adult, Jamie presents himself as down-to-earth and chill, and his parenting style is not unlike this approach. Jamie describes a situation in which he might find rolled joints in his would-be son's drawer, and rather than being angry at his son for smoking pot, he's more offended that his son didn't extend an invitation to his old man to join in! As a matter of fact, he'd kind of appreciate a brief tutorial on how to roll a joint in the first place. Jamie's views on today's generation is that of pride and respect. And, I have to say, I absolutely agree with him. Today's kids are shining lights on mental health issues and decreasing the stigma that has accompanied them; they've shown a greater regard for those with disabilities, gender-differentiation, and ethnicity; they've adopted an anti-bullying stance, advocated for the underdogs and given up their place in line to help a peer. Obviously, this does not identify every student nationwide, but for the greater majority, I think it's safe to say that they're making the world a better place.  

In true fatherhood fashion, Jamie takes the time to connect with his audience in a personal, short session I'd like to call, "I'm proud of you." This is the highlight of the entire routine--a lighthearted moment that certain individuals from the audience will likely cherish forever! Jamie takes volunteers from the audience, asks them some questions about who they are and what they do, and offers verbal affirmation for the choices they've made in their life and follows it up with, "I'm proud of you." I mean, honestly, I would've started crying if he'd picked me, and I have a father who says this to me all the time. But, just being seen and recognized is not something that's commonplace in our society, and "Big Dad" Jamie gives us the pat on the back that we all need to have once in a while. 

(Photo by Thomas Rex)
If you read my one-on-one interview with Jamie, you know that we go way back. I met Jamie in college while we were performing in Playboy of the Western World together. I graduated and he moved on from our college town to pursue comedy full time. Social media has been our line of communication an it's been awesome seeing him grow as a comedian. But, aside from that, if I'd never known him, and perhaps stumbled upon his routine at a local fringe festival, he would be one that I'd never forget! 

Jamie Campbell is a master storyteller! He creates a space for us to laugh at the escapades of his life, as well as our own. Jamie's act is like a big hug from your own Big Dad, or the dad you wished you had. With expert ability to drive a plot and incredible comedic timing, Jamie Campbell is an all-star comedian who goes toe-to-toe with the best comedians in the business! Listen up, Dallas! The next time this man shows up in town, you'd do better to witness this level of hilarity! One hour of comedy with him feels like ten minutes. You'll be restless for more!

And, Jamie, just so you know, and because you need to hear it, I'm proud of you! Thanks for being the Big Dad we all need!

Audience Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour
Accessible Seating: Available
Sensory Friendly Showing: Not Available
Hearing Devices: Not Available
ASL Showing: Not Available
Noises or Visuals to Prepare For: None

Ya'll Enjoy!

You can still catch Jamie one more time tonight at The Stomping Ground Comedy Theater for the Dallas Rant Championship. Watch 25 finalists compete to become the ultimate Rant Champion!  Stomping Ground offers an intimate space, affordable tickets and a BYOB policy. Catch this act and more at