The problem with small cosy spaces is that its very difficult for a critic to hide. The audience and the performer(s) develop a relationship simply because of proximity to each other and thats what makes slating a show even harder. In Marc Hogans case, this is excruciating. Hes affable, very likeable and boundlessly enthusiastic but the problem is that hes just not that funny. His downfall is that hes doing this here. Were he to attempt this show as a small touring production in his home town he might be met with some success but hes brought it to the Edinburgh Fringe, perhaps one of the most demanding places on the planet. There are so many individuals or groups, amateurs and professionals, offering all types of comedy (improvisation, observational etcetera) every August that there is so much choice and, faced with such stiff competition, Hogan doesnt really stand a chance. The idea behind Actions Speak Louder Than Birds is a bet. Apparently Hogan, a corporate speaker, made a one pound wager with a colleague that he couldnt write and perform a show in Edinburgh that made people cry with laughter. On this showing, it seems Hogan is a pound down. His main problem is that his material had been done before ad nauseam by both professionals and amateurs, most of whom have managed to elicit more laughs than Hogan. In some cases the topics have been done to death. Theres the mother-in-law/girlfriends mother - yawn. Theres having a sly dig at the Daily Mail and its politics - done every week on at least 4 panel shows. Its old. Therere Nazis, though God knows where they came from. Theyre completely unrelated to anything else. And then there are unnecessary references to sex and plenty of gratuitous profanity its not funny and its not clever; its just laziness. Still, perhaps Im being overly-critical. Hogan himself states that he is a part-time comedian and as this is his first foray into the world of stand up perhaps he still needs time to fine tune his act. He does, to his credit, have some themes that could be worked upon. There is a lot of potential in his references to free range leprechauns and WiFi lucky heather to highlight the absurdity of superstition and he plays on his Irish heritage and Catholicism with some success. One thing he did say that made me laugh was in regard to why he wears two condoms when having sex to be sure, to be sure. He also makes excellent use of PowerPoint to parody its ubiquity in modern office life. Hogans problem is that he does not develop these. Hes too quick to move on to other topics that he has, presumably, seen done successfully by other comics and is assuming that theyll work for him too. Theyre the safe options. Theyre certain to raise a laugh, right? Im afraid they dont and my advice would be to jettison them, work on his more original ideas and try again next year. To quote one of Hogans own lines: I dont know anything about comedy. Sadly, that is too true.