Damion Larkin: Cuddly Loser

Early in his set Cuddly Loser Damion Larkin describes himself as 'five foot seven and made of pies.' It's a pretty good introduction to the type of material the show contains – vaguely waggish self-deprecation about Larkin's looks and inability to succeed with women which occasionally raise a good laugh but after a while get a bit repetitive. Probably the funniest section is the Q&A towards the end of the performance in which Larkin reveals an easy, ready wit and a stock of anecdotes that feel far fresher and funnier than those in the set's main body, perhaps simply for being less over-prepared. The problem is partly that the format Larkin sets himself is a little constrained – he's too likeable to be laughed at but sometimes too abrasive to be laughed with, meaning that his multiple tales of loserdom and romantic misadventure don't strike the balance of sympathy and comedy they otherwise might. Or possibly it's just that the great jokes are spread too thin, with the less effective material slightly tired.He's good when he's shocking, though you might be laughing despite your better instinct, and he's much more winning when he goes off-book. Larkin turned to comedy after working as a stock broker and I suspect his professional life might be a richer seam of material to mine than his romantic life. A more panoramic view of the concept of a 'loser' than a simple focus on love and sex might also help. This is by no means a bad show, but not consistently strong or original enough to be one of the comedy highlight of this year's Fringe.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

He left a successful career in stockbroking to entertain strangers. Upbeat tales of incompetence, loneliness and failure. Plus a lust for life, chocolate and girls beyond his reach. 'One of the country's top new comedians' (BBC).