Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Simon Brodkin: 100% Simon Brodkin, Pleasance Courtyard

Simon Brodkin has already had a few comedy careers. He first broke through as sketch comedian, then as spoof geezer Lee Nelson, then made his name as a world class prankster. He is best known now for handing Theresa May her P45 at the Tory Party Conference and showering FIFA Sepp Blatter with bank notes. This show, however, is more of a "this is me" hour, as Brodkin reveals himself to be a thoroughly entertaining conventional comedian.

A lot of this show could be described as high quality generic jeans-and-t-shirt stand-up. It's not really "this is me", it's a heightened persona for comic effect loosely based on "this is me". After a self-deprecating opening in which he jokes about playing a tiny tin hut and noting that his award-winning breakthrough shows are a distant memory he talks about his life and family.

He grew up comfortable and middle class in Hamsptead Garden Suburb and gets big laughs out of how cosy his non-Mean-Streets childhood was. The biggest trauma was later on as a young adult, telling his mother that he was going to give up being a doctor to become a comedian. He also gets a lot of laughs out of sending up his marriage. He's an utterly useless father, as he discovered when his wife left him to look after their children. He is also good on male friendships, even if there are no great surprises in his observations about men preferring not to meet for five years rather than talk about their feelings to each other,

For those more interested in his pranking career there is an account of his stunt tossing swastika-logo balls at Donald Trump when he was opening a Scottish golf course. You can still hear the relief in his voice when Brodkin recalls how he was grabbed by the Sottish police rather than Trump's American security.

The most interesting, distinctive section, however, is in the homestretch when Brodkin gets more serious and talks about the rise and threat of anti-semitism. The emphasis is still very much on easily digestible humour but under the surface he is clearly addressing something important him.

I missed the razor-sharp Pub Landlord-style crowdwork that he used to do so well as Lee Nelson, but as a traditional, timeless stand-up show this hits plenty of bullseyes. It's still character comedy in a way, but a character much closer to the real Simon Brodkin. Maybe 60% Simon Brodkin.

Simon Brodkin: 100% Simon Brodkin, Pleasance Courtyard until Aug 24. Buy tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.




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