From the start, I must point out that I fully accept that standing up on a stage, making people laugh in a foreign language, even if it's the 'lingua franca' of the western world (ie English) seems incredibly tough. So 10 out of 10 for effort, Björn Gustafsson.

Of course, until this Fringe, I'd never even heard of Gustafsson, not being in the habit of YouTubing Swedish comedy and having missed his apparent 'big break' adding some mild hilarity to that most somber of affairs, the Eurovision Song Contest, a few years back. However, if he's genuinely 'Sweden´s funniest guy’ then I'm not exactly encouraged to check out that beautiful country's comedy circuit. When the biggest laugh of the night comes from an off-the-cuff response to sound bleeding through from the venue next door, it's perhaps time to work a bit harder on your own material. Also, while it's honest to admit that you're just 'trying out material' written on the day to see what works, that might not be what a paying audience might want to hear, even at midnight with drinks in their hands.

Perhaps recognising the limits of his English, significant parts of the material is dependent on him either singing 'la la la' for a long time, or some dirty (seated) dancing as he remembers losing his virginity while visiting Edinburgh several years before. But it's no excuse for an excruciatingly poor Indian impersonation which probably would have had even Peter Sellers blushing in its ineptitude.

Annoyingly, there could be a good show here: not that you'd guess it from the publicity, but this show is, to all intents and purposes, a double act with Gustafsson sharing the stage with his brother Oskar. This taller, slimmer (some might even say better looking) Gustafsson is clearly a talented guitarist, pianist and singer in his own right; and he's not that bad at telling a joke, when supposedly forced to do so while his brother disappears off stage for no discernible reason.

Perhaps it was just the early hour, but there were a few small moments between them when it was possible to discern potential comedy gold in their brotherly relationship. But sibling rivalry, alas, is not something either Gustafsson would appear to excell at.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues


Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre




The Blurb

At the age of 20, Björn Gustafsson’s TV debut reached over four million views on YouTube. Since then the witty entertainer has wowed the Swedish audience on stage, in movies and on TV. ‘Sweden´s funniest guy...’ (Aftonbladet).