The world is a shambles, and Daniel Howell knows it.
The English millennial YouTube sensation is a man of many talents, having also dipped his toe into the world of radio, television, comedy, and literature. However, since he was a teenager, his YouTube presence has made the greatest impact.
Having amassed well over eight million subscribers across all his channels, Howell has created a solo show that caters to this cohort of millennials and gen Zers. We’re All Doomed has him marketed as “stressed, depressingly dressed and on a quest to live his best life before the inevitable apocalypse arrives”. This is an accurate description of his two Act ninety-minute show.
Opening with a spritely song and dance number proclaiming, “everything is fine”, we soon learn it is not. An outer dialogue with his inner dialogue sees him spiral. It sets the scene for the peaks and troughs to follow. And what mighty peaks and troughs they are!
Howell’s confessional comedy is highly structured. He summarises a topic, adds social commentary combining personal experience while using self-deprecating humour. Lather, rinse, repeat. Topics for discussion include social media and the internet, artificial intelligence, conspiracy theories, capitalism, the climate crisis, and mental health. It’s heavy stuff.
But that’s the point.
There is an acknowledgement that the world is in trouble, the apocalypse is coming, and we’re all doomed. Yet, with the aid of Howell, maybe we can have one good night (in each city the show is featured) before death is upon us.
Assisting to cut through the despair are vivid lights, giant pyramids, bubbles, and jokes. In fact, those elements save the show from being a disheartening TED talk.
Segments such as Conspiracy Theory Mad Libs and Freedom or Fire bring audience interaction to the forefront and laughs aplenty. Comical social critique is offered giving truth to the saying, “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry”. Having said that, Howell does both.
Towards the conclusion of the show, he discloses his own mental health struggles. The story is highly personal and relatable.
Especially to the youthful audience watching. By specifically calling this topic out, Howell acknowledges it is okay to not be okay, it is okay to talk about not being okay, and most importantly, there is hope. Even if it’s the tiniest glimmer of hope.
Howell’s comedy is generational. His content targeted towards his social media followers. Screen memes and video vignettes are effectively used throughout to complement the topics discussed. Nevertheless, if you are unfamiliar with his body of work, you are unlikely to wholly grasp the context.
For those that do, Daniel Howell does indeed offer one good night before we’re all doomed.
Review By Anita Kertes