Edinburgh Fringe Review: Fin Taylor, Gilded Balloon at the Counting House

Reviewed by Claire Smith.
“Check your privilege” is an expression you hear a lot these days. Fin Taylor has checked, and he’s very privileged indeed. Privately schooled, university educated and with enough money behind him to be able to take comedy seriously.
As a middle class white man, Taylor has concluded, he can do wrong. No matter what he says on stage, under the banner of “comedy”, he can be as obnoxious as he likes and he will still always be the winner in life.
Taylor has used this as his starting point to see if he can write material that is as offensive as possible to middle class white people and get away with it. He starts off on the nursery slopes, defending gentrification, trust funds and focaccia then builds up to a pornographic tirade against the BBC and the Queen. In Taylor’s hands, even Britain’s status as a nation of pet lovers becomes something dirty, disgusting and depraved.
But he gets away with it. The audience is not offended. Even though Taylor has attacked and denigrated every holy cow of British life he’s able to say whatever he likes. As a white middle class male he will always win - which proves his point.
It’s a very clever concept for a show. And it allows Taylor to blast through some of the snowflake generation rhetoric which sees comics pussyfooting around the concept of privilege. By making it centre stage, and making privilege itself the butt of the joke, Taylor has given himself permission to be as outrageous and outspoken as he likes, which is refreshing. His defence of the status quo is absurd - but as the status quo itself is also absurd - he can’t lose.
The strength of the show is also its weakness, in that it is essentially one punchline. And I found his shouty middle class white comic style a little exhausting - if depressingly true to life. Nonetheless this is a clever thoughtful and original show which does something genuinely different. I think I might have liked it more if I had felt genuinely shocked - but then that would have completely destroyed the premise of the show.
Taylor has spent a bit of time on the UK urban comedy circuit (presumably you can buy your way in) and he ends the show by chucking on a baseball cap and launching a rhythmical, air punching attack on whitey, delivered in the style of a black comic. His whitey routine references all the main points of his show in quickfire rap style. It’s a risky move - but he gets away with it. Of couse he does. (See what I did there).

Until August 28. Info here.


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