Upon entering the space where he was about to perform Big Dad Energy, Jamie Campbell greeted audience members individually by handing out cards with QR codes in lieu of programs — a charming touch from a man with a genuinely kind and funny spirit. This level of vulnerability is present throughout the performance, which balances between being a scripted one-man comedy act and a stand-up routine. The premise of Big Dad Energy, written and performed by Campbell, is simple: Campbell gives off “Big Dad Energy” but isn’t actually a dad. He tells stories about his life, jokes about sex and drugs (managing not to be crude while also not being boring), and raps about being a househusband. Peppered in are insightful moments that struck the heart of the audience, including an allegory involving pineapple on pizza (which I, for the record, think is delicious, literally and allegorically).
Big Dad Energy will resonate strongest with Gen X and older audiences; however, as a queer ’90s baby myself, it never hurts when someone with Big Dad Energy tells me he is proud of me. Wholesome, warm, and vulnerable, Campbell’s anecdotes have a bit of youth pastor energy; these anecdotes are paired with some truly touching and insightful commentary that everyone wishes they could hear from their dad.
Whether you are a parent, a househusband with big dad energy, or a queer kid who likes to hear strangers tell them they are proud of them, Big Dad Energy by Jamie Campbell is charming, intimate, and delightful. He may not have kids, but he was certainly the audience’s proud dad.
Running Time: 55 minutes.
Performer: Jamie Campbell
Age Appropriateness: Recommended for children 13+ older
The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.