Chris Hall and Mark Bittlestone: Two Sour Gays

One of the (many) great things about Fringe is that new comics, who don’t yet have an hour’s worth of material, can buddy up to put on a show — Chris Hall and Mark Bittlestone are two such buddies. They are an example of some of the wonderful creativity that came out of lockdown. Both gained a following on social media platforms (like TikTok) while trapped at home, creating characters and developing bite-sized comedy sketches, putting the rest of us to shame with our lack of productivity. It’s not the easiest transition to move from edited video clips to live comedy, but both ‘sour gays’ have a lot of potential and seemed really at home on stage.

Worth paying £10 to see them this year before they shoot off into the comedy stratosphere!

First, Mark got the crowd buzzing with some audience interaction. It didn’t always go where he wanted, but he rolled with the punches (or very light pats) and befriended pretty much everyone in the vicinity with his charm and easygoing nature. As the venue was small, it did feel like we learned a lot about around 50% of the audience, but everyone was up for the banter.

Next came Chris to do the first set. Although he confessed to still being nervous doing live shows — he only started in October 2021 — his humour translated very well to the IRL experience. His brand of humour, like his videos, is tailored to a millennial audience, so the references to star signs, Facebook memories, and SAD lamps went down very well with the younger crowd. It might still be early days for his comedy career, but his natural sarcasm and quick reactions make him perfect for the spotlight. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Mark rounded off the night with his own stand up routine, proving he’s got strong material in his own back pocket. His humour was less sarcastic and more story-led, but he got great reactions for his porn references and straight-passing experience. He also used some material from his social media followers — a nice benefit of having an established online base. It’s well worth paying £10 to see them this year before they shoot off into the comedy stratosphere!

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Reviews by Kate Nora

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Yuck! A stand-up comedy show about being gay! And about being vegan (Chris), getting piles (Mark), collecting crystals (Chris), getting piles (Mark), being in love (Chris) and getting piles (Mark). Join social media "sensations" (they have 300k followers, fewer than most cats) Chris Hall and Mark Bittlestone for an hour of jokes, then follow them @chrxstopher.hall and @poofsrus or find them selling their underwear for money on Grindr. Winner: Frog and Bucket Beat the Frog 2021 and Up the Creek Blackout 2022. Finalist: Leicester Square Theatre Sketchoff 2019 and 2020.

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