Des Clarke: The Trouble with Being Des

The Trouble with Being Des, according to Des Clarke, is that he has an inner demon man child inside him which makes him “weird”—not least within the context of growing up in a high-rise flat in Glasgow’s notorious Gorbals district—and liable to say the wrong thing. For any reviewer, though, the Trouble with Des Clarke is that it’s nigh on impossible to review one of his shows and give any sense of just how genuinely funny he is.

Clarke isn’t a “dangerous” comedian, unless you’re worried about losing bladder control from laughing too much.

You can list the subjects he talks about; it’s a long list, from the Commonwealth Games (and how most Scots are genuinely surprised that we didn’t fuck them up) to his dislike of airport shops, from why he isn’t a golf-loving Alpha Male to schoolyard nicknames and the agonies involved in getting his first “proper haircut”. On paper you can see how he mixes in a few topical subjects with his own personal take on experiences that are surprisingly universal (though even Clarke seemed surprised at just how many people in the audience on the night of this review had their school jotters covered in unused wallpaper—is that a peculiarly Scottish thing?)

On paper, though, such a list lacks any of the life that Clarke brings to the stage. Clarke’s a self-confessed fidget, of course; on this occasion, he’s even invested in a natty stool in the vague hope that, by forcing himself to sit on it, he can save at least some of his audience from whiplash injuries as he roams from one side to the other of the “Goth’s bedroom” of a set. (He likes the chandeliers, though.) Such roaming is simply an expression of his seemingly unlimited energy; he is an explosion of movement and words. A stereotypical Glaswegian in that respect; you just wonder how he manages to remember to breathe.

Recognising—indeed, to an extent, revelling in—his own “weirdness”, Clarke does then take the unexpected step of assuming that at least some of the people who come to see him must be a bit weird themselves, and so indulges in a bit of audience participation with a survey that—again, on the night of this review—resulted in material he insisted he couldn’t really top. Except, of course, he did; though one does wonder if it might be worth him paying the people concerned to turn up most nights, just in case…

Clarke isn’t a “dangerous” comedian, unless you’re worried about losing bladder control from laughing too much. He’s a constant delight, though, and well worth catching if you can.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti

★★
Traverse Theatre

W*nk Buddies

★★★
Traverse Theatre

Pride Plays

★★★★
Multiple Venues

Oor Wullie

★★★★
Oran Mor / Traverse Theatre

Fly Me To The Moon

★★★★
Platform / Traverse Theatre

The Panopticon

★★★★

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Des is at a crossroads in life and has some things he needs to get off his chest. This time it’s personal. Host of Scotland's Capital Breakfast Show, Des is an award-winning comedian who first appeared at the Fringe as a teenager. Since then, he has travelled the world with his offbeat brand of humour and become a familiar face on TV. There have been some major bumps in the road though. All part of the Trouble With Being Des. ***** (Daily Record). **** (Edinburgh Evening News). **** (List). **** (Chortle.co.uk).

Most Popular See More

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets