Fringe Review: “The Immaculate Big Bang”: Big Laughs


Image courtesy of Bill Santiago

Quantum mechanics. Religion. Dr. Seuss. What do these things have in common? Bill Santiago. “The Immaculate Big Bang” is a touring standup set from New York comedian Bill Santiago, and it’s touched down in Montreal. This easy-to-watch monologue will definitely pique the interest of the Fringe crowd and comedy fans.

Do you really know what the Big Bang theory is or understand its nature? Can you describe it properly? Probably not. Santiago can’t either, but that doesn’t stop him from trying, bringing humour to a typically purely scientific notion. This is a foundational pillar for his style of comedy. It is clear that Santiago’s strengths comes from finding humor in anything, and not just conventionally funny topics. With a booming voice and a beaming smile, he’s sure to get laughs out of just about anyone.

Santiago’s energy is admirable. Now, comedy shows like this also definitely depend on the audience and their energy. Unfortunately, the audience when I went really did seem like a tough crowd– at first. With his charisma, confidence, unrelenting vigour, and self-deprecation (that did not go too far), Santiago transformed some hesitant chuckles into full-blown laughter. 

The monologue was genuinely smart and funny, while also accessible. Reaching for a multitude of topics and relating them together is done with ease, and mostly lands well too. There’s something for everyone here. Santiago prides himself for being multicultural and bilingual, and for someone juggling multiple languages, his wordplay is spectacular. As someone who is trilingual, I know this isn’t easy. Jokes he established 10 minutes in come around 30 minutes later. I appreciate his making fun of some words and titles in the English language itself, since we as Montrealers are mostly bilingual and do this too. 

Image courtesy of Bill Santiago

However, some jokes and wordplay did fall flat on myself and the rest of the audience. The topics that stretched further and further away from anything grounded and relatable sometimes seemed forced. I didn’t find humor in comparing Albert Einstein and Kanye West and then waiting a beat for a laugh, realising there was none, and moving onto something else.

My favorite parts were the moments where Santiago put distance between the topics that were further away, and started talking about himself. You can tell he’s someone with a big heart in the way he talks about his parents, or girlfriend, or daughter. Weaving in solid wit and wordplay to stories that are both relatable to himself and to the audience makes Santiago infinitely funnier. I wanted to know more about his life, and I wanted to hear him poke fun at it. His talk of family was honest, endearing, and pulling on the empathy of the audience. I wish there was more of it. 

Santiago is an existential, witty, intelligent, romantic, animated and a genuine performer. Take this as you will, but in the (approximate) 1 hour show, there is almost no dead air. Some audience members will love that, some won’t. Either way, The Immaculate Big Bang is a very fun way to spend an hour.

Check this out if you like stand up comedy, especially content that doesn’t knock anything too hard!

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Bill Santiago presents “The Immaculate Big Bang”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Performances: June 9 – 15, 2019
Venue: 07 – Théâtre Impro Montréal
3697 Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2X 2V7
Admission: $12 | Ages 18+
Box Office:
514.849.FEST (3378)

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Check out all our other 70+ reviews 
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!

Rahul Gandhi

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