I went into Tim Drain's show fully prepared for some offensive stuff. Like, really offensive, "did he just say that" stuff. The flyer for the show boasts a no holds barred set, which means it's a total shock to the senses for the mild-mannered man to take to the stage in silence, sit down and produce a script. Where's all the devil-may-care, Brendon Burns-esque bravado which was stamped across the promotional material?
Drain has good potential in his puns, but his observational material relies on too much context which weakens the punch lines.
Drain seems less occupied with delivering offensive material and more concerned with apologising for it. By prefixing all of his digs at royals and politicians with 'possibly', Drain adds an uncertainty which means his jokes fail to land with the impact he intends. By doing this it seems as if Drain is questioning his own material, which in turn gears up the audience toward a negative response. The riskiest it gets is Drain joking about visiting the sexual health clinic or working with children, but even then it feels fairly tame. Katie Hopkins gets several mentions, but without any real follow-on as if her name alone is enough to warrant the set shocking.
A lot of Drain's material seems to be untested in a comedy venue, with anecdotes involving some kind of funny remarks he and his mates made on a trip to Ibiza which fail to land outside of his friendship circle. His friend apparently does a good impression of David Attenborough, but as the audience don't know Drain's friend this is hard to judge, and Drain's joke on finding feminists in the wild doesn't work regardless of Attenborough accuracy. You probably had to be there to find a lot of Drain's pithy remarks to his friends funny.
Stand up is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and especially at the Fringe some acts will fall by the wayside. Drain has good potential in his puns, but his observational material relies on too much context which weakens the punch lines. Unfortunately this, and his underprepared material in a festival where comedians have been learning their sets for months prior, means Drain is not quite ready for the world of stand up.