Chris Betts: Social Animal

Who knew that bartending could be so interesting? In his debut show at the Fringe, Chris Betts, a Canadian comic with what can only be described as a beard to die for (which you can’t touch), relates what he’s seen and learnt from the drunk human race after 13 years of working behind a bar. Judging from the sheer breadth and diversity of his material, he’s pretty much seen it all, convincing you by the end that bartending should be a mandatory rite of passage.

Due to his commitment, in a show of flaws, it’s the gems in Social Animal and Betts’ natural comedic touch that shine through in the end.

However his ability to convince is probably the main problem with Betts’ show. By seeing humanity through this drunken filter, Betts has formed several amusing opinions, many of which he relates during his show. His weakness however is that they are often no more than amusing, leaving you more likely to nod in agreement rather than split your sides laughing. This , combined with several jokes which Betts commits too much time to, make for some uneven moments in his show.

Yet despite this, Betts is still able to hold your attention, making you chuckle regularly. His observations are original and relatable and his undeniable skill for metaphors and smart one liners, sprayed throughout his whole set, make up for some of his longer stories which don’t quite hit the mark. The more quirky sections of his show are also fantastic; whether it’s him reading toilet graffiti that’s he’s collected over the years or his so-called “impressions”, these short skits often turn out to be the most impressive parts of his shows and the parts you feel he should embrace more.

Because of the positive aspects within his work the show can prove to be frustrating at times, especially the ending, which after some build up seems irrelevant and flat. However due to his commitment, in a show of flaws, it’s the gems in Social Animal and Betts’ natural comedic touch that shine through in the end.

Broadway Baby Radio interview with Chris Betts

Reviews by Will Roberts

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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

Edinburgh debut; Chris Betts loves to watch people, and his favourite view is from behind the bar. Betts has studied mankind at our watering holes and come back hopeful. Think Jane Goodall polishing glasses! Comedy Reserve 2014, NATYs finalist 2015, Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year finalist 2014. ‘Canadian Chris Betts has a confident style and a solid set ... a glint of steelier edge’ ( ‘…he’s an enticing prospect, a Canadian who deals with off-kilter thoughts sharpened by his occasional prod at taboo topics’ (Independent).

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