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Frank Sidebottom The Home of the Retrospective


Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Ed Gamble: Mammoth @ Pleasance Courtyard

What the Edinburgh Fringe website says:

After a sell-out success in 2016, that gobby little toerag Ed Gamble is back with a brand-new lumbering beast of a comedy show. Off of Mock the Week (BBC Two), Drunk History (Comedy Central), Conan (TBS), Almost Royal (E4), Russell Howard's Stand Up Central (Comedy Central), Edinburgh Comedy Fest Live (BBC Three) and Man Down (Channel 4) as well as countless other things (three other things). 'A master of unlocking the humour in everything' **** (List, 2016). “He is on irresistible form” **** (Telegraph, 2016).

Watch a video:

Taking a Gamble

Ed Gamble precedes the show with some background heavy metal music courtesy of the likes of Pantera, Mastodon and Clutch. When he comes on stage, he pokes fun at the fact that he’s a heavy metal fan with a decidedly non-heavy metal face and a public school education. His show starts off on a high; he’s clearly a man with tonnes of personality and an awareness of how much of an anomaly he is.

Unfortunately, his repertoire tends to fall back on cheap laughs. There’s nothing wrong with crude humour when it’s used carefully, but Ed seems to employ it extensively and for its own sake - such as when he goes on about how he’s so addicted to halloumi cheese that he’d suck cocks in a car park for it, or during an extended routine involving suffering flatulence in a massage parlour.

Picking on the audience

Even worse, he tends to pick on audience members for some of his laugh-seeking - in particular, a trio of bald men sitting in the front two rows. This sort of trend amongst comics is something you are either up for or aren’t; if you are you will love it, but if you are not you will hate it. I have to say that I fall into the latter category. While not all audience interaction is bad and can genuinely enliven a show, attempts to outright embarrass patrons often seem like a crutch for a lack of material.

That’s basically Ed Gamble all over: personality trumps material. There are still occasional good jokes nonetheless, such as one near the start about being a Mormon preacher at a heavy metal gig. There’s also a moment where he hilariously picks holes in the classic fitness fanatic argument that “running is like a drug”, and another involving a rather unusual tattoo on his leg. A quick Google search reveals that he’s getting strong reviews in some quarters, and obviously everyone has their own sense of humour. However, I felt that I’d ultimately lost the gamble (pun intended) when I elected to attend his show.

Rating: ☆☆1/2

Tickets are available from the following link:

Edinburgh Fringe 2017 logo

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