Preview season is rushing by quickly – before long the fringe will start, and everyone who has financially committed to what is becoming an increasingly scammy, expensive and low artisticly valued Fringe Festival will be testing their shows for a whole month at the biggest arts festival in the world.
But before that, some of the wonderful up and coming artists try out their work-in-progress shows at our lovely club – this time we had 2 of the funniest men I have ever seen live (and I don’t usually find men funny)
The audience was modest, in fact only one person apart from myself and Joe was there from start to end – but that one person had an incredible time experiencing some incredibly solid hours from titans of the circuit both northern and southern respectively.
The show kicked off with BCBA favourite Ian Lane, making his debut live appearance at Blizzard Comedy to perform his show “How to Get Up In The Morning.” A multimedia masterpiece of whimsical comedic ideas, complimented with charming doodles and artwork to illustrate the show, and a strong thematic through line as Ian takes us through his old morning routine, and throws some curveballs that provide an insight into some recent struggles of his without breaking away from the core show premise.
As someone who has very little skill at weaving consistent narratives through my sets, I’m always in awe of people who can so expertly weave a story without wasting any joke potential, and yet still maintain a coherent arc. This show does just that, and aside from a couple of moments Ian referenced needed filling – this already feels like a complete show which you owe it to yourselves to check out when you can.
Ian isn’t going up to Edinburgh this year – but follow him on social media @RuffledBricks and keep an eye out for this show coming to a venue near you. You won’t regret it.
After the break we had another favourite from our live streams making his debut Jake Donaldson. Less whimsical but no less full of heart, as Jake takes us through his own relationship with masculinity, insecurities, and toxicities associated with it, and how he’s grown in his own relationship with it.
While many people might be skeptical of a cis man performing a show all about toxic masculinity – Jake absolutely hits it out of the park, very carefully avoiding falling into “Not All Men” tropes – and instead critiquing masculinity from a point of view of someone who has it thrust upon him despite not relating to it the way many other men appear to. Jake at no point tries to claim that he is free from biases and issues stemming from his masculine socialization and expectations – instead examining the complicated layers of it interpolated with some top class anecdotal comedy that feels like you really get to know him by the end.
While I very much understand and empathize with anyone being concerned that a show called Neurotica about Toxic Masculinity may be an hour of self-indulgent faux-feminism used to virtual signal and get laid – this show is about as far from that as it’s possible to get whilst still being a cis man dissecting masculinity. I actually think we need more men like Jake examining their own gendered experiences as insightfully and earnestly as he does, whether that’s in the form of a comedy show, music, poetry, or even just self-reflection. This show I feel is one that might not connect with everyone, but those who do connect with it will benefit from doing so in their sense of self.
I’ve praised him a lot for the show premise, but make no mistake this is as good a comedy show as it is Ted Talk, no concept is visited without some genuinely class gags that will have you roaring with laughter, making a room of 4 people sounding like a 50 seater.
The show still has some kinks that need ironing out and streamlining, and there are moments where the message feels a bit disjointed from the content of the show – but at no point during this hour long show will you feel bored or lectured to, which is a balance I wish I could pull off – and I am very excited to see how this show looks after a month’s run at Edinburgh. If you are lucky enough to be up at the fringe at any point this August, you won’t regret booking a ticket to see Jake at Laughting Horse at 12:00 between the 4th-28th August: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/jake-donaldson-neurotica