‘Fame is a mask that eats into the face’. This is the strapline David Baddiel has chosen to employ for his first Fringe stand-up gig in 16 years. It defines fame as an unshakable cloak, which covers the true human identity of any celebrity from the public eye. Baddiel makes a point of establishing that each and every one of his anecdotal jokes in this particular set are true stories, a claim that has the audience gripped from the off. For Baddiel fans, this is a gratifying experience, a reflective, relatable, tongue-in-cheek look back at the comedy star’s career.
Baddiel discusses the consequences of being famous in a polished set. This style of show doesn’t seem to set out for doubled over hilarity or a quick punchline turnover, but instead intelligently meanders through a series of stories with quick wit and complete reflective sincerity. Rather than referring to the characters in his stories anonymously - as other stand ups tend to - the renowned comedian goes as far as showing a recording of his daughter’s school talent show and even a picture of her pulling an unfortunately designed hat over her face to mimic Hitler. This ‘bare all’ attitude makes for an extremely personable experience. The punchlines all hit the mark but don’t come as swiftly as other sets, though this does not matter much. What Baddiel offers is something different to other acts. Not so much a ‘show’, but a confession. A truthful, witty and charming insight into the shut off world of celebrity through his own eyes. His performance is calm and collected, he is understated and does not play up to his punters - too much. He looks absolutely at home, and has opened up the door for his audience.
Those at this year’s fringe who have ever been a fan of this iconic comedian should snap up a ticket as soon as possible to avoid missing out.