Gareth Waugh has structured his solid solo stand-up show around an admittedly less solid concept. Alternating between two microphones, the idea is that he will only tell true stories through one and only lies through the other. The twist is that you don’t know which version of Waugh is the honest one. However because almost all stand-up comedians who have ever existed fabricate, exaggerate or borrow memories and encounters for laughs, and because audiences seem universally to be comfortable, enthusiastic even, about them doing this, it is not clear that stand-up is the post-truth battleground that this show makes it out to be.
He still can’t quite refer to anything adult without a massive grin and a cheeky kid’s mentality.
Nevertheless, Waugh can do charm and self-deprecation well and he makes sure, before even stepping out on stage, to point out that this concept may just be a gimmick to distinguish the show in the programme. Deploying an entertaining video introduction, Waugh is cross-examined in a hot seat with a lie detector attached to his temples, reminiscent of the sarcastic grilling that Armando Iannucci delivered in Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle.
There is good material throughout the show, including a particularly funny and relatable section on attempting to get served at Scottish off-licences. Waugh can range quite effortlessly between relatable observational stories about the pains of self-motivated jogging or navigating your first kiss, to extended, odder (potentially) autobiographical sections on socialising with debt-enforcers and sofa salesmen. He also has an enjoyable running shtick throughout the show whereby despite the fact that the content is drawing on stripper bars, drug taking and kitchen sex, he still can’t quite refer to anything adult without a massive grin and a cheeky kid’s mentality. By the end of the show this natural charisma meant that no one seemed too worried to find out which Waugh had been honest all along.