Alex Kealy: Winner Takes All

Braving the smells and humidity of the Niddry Street Hive, Alex Kealy’s The Winner Takes All explains the inner workings and purpose of Silicon Valley and tech monopolies better than any Netflix documentary.

Explains the inner workings and purpose of Silicon Valley and tech monopolies better than any Netflix documentary

Between using his Spotify to track his emotional state (probably not wise considering the message of his show) to the point of New Zealand, Kealy mixes the personal and technical into a self-proclaimed ‘lemon and herb’ style show, that is not entirely spicy but not particularly mild either. With insight that only makes sense within the four walls of the Hive (or comedy logic), it is clear that Kealy is incredibly passionate about the subject matter.

Does Kealy tell us anything new? Not really, except by the end we know so much about his internet habits and personal life to the point where tech companies could just come to his stand-up show to learn how to profit off of him. Will this show convince us to change our habits? Also probably not, but it’s always good to be reminded that social media has probably ruined humanity and that we are being constantly exploited for profit. If anything, Kealy forces us to be more aware of and think about the problems created by big tech so that we can make an informed decision about our habits if we so desire, and he balances the urgency of the matter and humour incredibly well.

There is no moralising in this show; Kealy doesn't try to persuade us to change our ways. It’s very much an hour of bashing tech companies, which is sorely missing from common discourse, making this one of the most intellectually stimulating comedy sets on the Fringe.

The real red pill if there ever was one, The Winner Takes All is one of the most thoroughly researched comedy shows there is, discussing another incredibly nihilistic subject. Because Kealy knows that we probably aren’t going to change our ways, after all he is very aware of the human condition, but regardless this is definitely the funniest Ted Talk I’ve ever seen.

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Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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The Blurb

The ‘rising star of the British stand-up scene’ (List) explores Silicon Valley tech monopolies, advertising and addiction through his ‘perfectly expressed gags’ ( 'A storming show' (Sunday Times). Guardian's Top 10 Jokes Edinburgh Festival 2019. 'Fresh, insightful and original... a great hour of cerebral stand-up' **** ( 'Dynamite interstellar routine which I wish I had written!' (Mark Kermode). 'Clever comedy… internal damage from laughing so much' **** ( 'A must-see at the fringe' **** ( '5 Comedians To See If You Like James Acaster' (Edinburgh Evening News). Writer for Mock The Week and News Quiz.

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