Fringe Comedy Reviews: Not for Idiots

Feature by John Stansfield | 17 Aug 2015

Last year Richard Brown and Tiernan Douieb had shows called This Is Not For You and This Isn’t For You respectively. Grammar aside, they’re pretty similar titles and equally restrictive in hoping to gain an audience of purists rather than the usual weekend club comedy crowd. Richard Brown’s 2015 entry is Art is Easy [★★☆☆☆] and on the fold-out poster he hands out as people enter the show he has listed some other shows you should go and see. He really doesn’t want you to see his show. Which is a shame because it is full of the verbal dexterity and loathing of the outside world that we may expect from a man twice his age. He echoes Stewart Lee, both in his attitude to stand-up and some of his routines, leaving the microphone to speak to the audience, though he has the decency to namecheck his idol. Unfortunately for Brown he hasn't learnt his own show and constantly has to read from notes, taking him out of his carefully-constructed rants about the broken society he sees. When it’s polished it’ll easily be a much more accomplished show than the one witnessed by The Skinny. 

Tiernan Douieb on the other hand is much more accessible; his tone is a slightly darker shade of Mock the Week-style satire. This year’s show, The World’s Full of Idiots, Let’s Live in Space [★★★☆☆], looks at how the 1% are ruining the Earth and all its resources, so the only option is to escape to the heavens. A gifted orator with an amiable style, his punchlines never quite bite they way they should, taking on easy targets and hitting them with soft taps. Though his work is basically calling most consumerists stupid, he is much more approachable than his titles might suggest.

Continuing the theme of calling your audience an idiot is Fern Brady with her show People Are Idiots [★★★★☆], though she does point out that she did this mainly so that if people are offended by the content they can’t ask for refunds as they were forewarned. A lot has been said about Brady before the festival as ‘the next big thing’, which she laughs off with good grace. Her style has mellowed over the last couple of years and though her material still maintains its dark tinge and risqué subject matter, her presentation is not so aggressive. A short sketch at the end with a member of the audience pretending to be a Blendr admirer of Brady’s is a great touch, showcasing both her writing ability and ad lib skill. She may not be keen on the idea of being ‘the next big thing’ but she should probably get used to it.

Tiernan Douieb: The World's Full of Idiot's, Let's Live in Space, The Liquid Room, until 30 Aug, 2:30pm, free

Richard Brown: Art is Easy, Dragonfly, until 29 Aug, 2pm, free

Fern Brady: People are Idiots, The Stand III & IV, until 30 Aug, 12:10pm, £8