Brett Goldstein: Burning Man

As the beat of an ear-blistering house track pumps into the venue, Goldstein races onto the stage, adorned with neon bracelets, a glowing headdress and a ridiculously small pair of wings. As the strains of music die down in the face of a largely bemused crowd, the softly-spoken comic explains he doesn't really know how to start a show. Luckily for us, he does know how to write a fantastic hour of comedy.

His British cynicism cuts through pretension like a knife.

The concept behind his latest show is threefold: it concerns his use of drugs, his experience at the eponymous Burning Man festival, and his mother's reaction to his comedy, with the latter being simply 'what is it for?'. It is a question Goldstein seeks to answer himself, and while he never really gets to the bottom of it, there is a lot of fun to be had on the journey. After the revelation that his mother has never actually seen his stand-up, mainly due to Goldstein's own efforts to keep her away, he explains that this is due to the controversial subjects of many of his shows, such as 2013's porn-based Scenes Of A Sexual Nature.

This year, porn use has made way for drug use, and Goldstein takes on a bizarre and candid tour of his usage, from his very first pill to an accidental heroin binge in a New York basement. There are many surprising twists to his tale, but perhaps the most surprising of all is his balanced approach to drug-taking. He recognises very early on that experiences vary from person to person, and almost everyone will know someone who has died as a direct result of illegal drugs, but he also avoids the moralising superiority of anti-drug crusaders, admitting that the reason that so many people, himself included, take drugs is because they are pretty amazing.

The highlight of the show, however, is Goldstein's experiences at Burning Man festival. His British cynicism cuts through the pretension like a knife, and despite his willingness to join in, he just cannot withhold his disbelief to a large enough extent to feel accepted. If you have ever found yourself laughing behind your hand whilst somebody explains how astrology helped them 'find themselves', then this is the show for you.

Reviews by Ed Barnes

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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The Blurb

Drugs, fetishes, juggling – just another day in the desert. In 2014 Brett (award-winning comedian, star of Derek, Uncle, Undercover and SuperBob) went to Burning Man to find himself. He wasn't there. But he did leave a message... A new stand-up show looking at sex, secret doors, and the impossibility of nuance in a world made of sand. Another show Brett's mum shouldn't see. Please buy all the tickets so she can't get one. Seriously. Otherwise Christmas is going to be very uncomfortable. **** (Scotsman). **** (Times). **** (Evening Standard). **** (

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