Jacob Hawley @ Monkey Barrel
A solid hour of Jacob Hawley’s particular brand of 'thoughtful lad' comedy
Like many of us, the events of the past few years stripped Jacob Hawley of his identity. Stuck in purgatory between the culture wars of Brexit and anti-vaxxers whilst the pandemic evaporated his income, the comic faces a further identity crisis when he discovers his girlfriend is pregnant. Hawley feels unable to be a father because he doesn’t know how to raise a child, running through all possible scenarios from where they should live to the politics he and his partner should instil in their offspring.
Hawley wears his working class roots on his sleeve and his down-to-Earth charm catches you off guard when flecks of silliness burst through his stories (shotting olive oil on a Tuesday afternoon, an obsession with macho shark toys from the early 90s). The silliness doesn’t always pay off though. After a brilliant set piece about bafflingly being asked to perform 45 minutes of stand-up in the middle of a drive-in screening of Grease, the show hangs its hat on too many laboured Grease references, undermining the sincerity and vulnerability which Hawley gently builds across Bump.
That’s not to say the hour isn’t worth your time. Hawley is a pleasure to watch and skilfully tempts the audience into thinking he’s about to cross the line for a woke Fringe audience, before turning on a dime to reveal he’s a good guy after all. Previously quoted as the “voice of a generation”, he’s infinitely accessible and straddles the club comic and meaningful, thoughtful Edinburgh comic brands with ease.
The topic of new fatherhood and supporting his partner through their pregnancy journey had the potential for soaring highs and deeply empathetic lows. Sadly, Jacob Hawley never quite reaches those heights, instead settling for a road with many small bumps along the way.
Jacob Hawley: Bump, Monkey Barrel (The Hive 1), until 28 Aug, 1.25pm, £6-8