Gary Little: The Thing Is

Gary Little isn’t. Little, that is. He’s big; tall, muscular, with not an unshaved hair on his scalp. Looking at him you have absolutely no doubt that he’s a man who can take care of himself, and that’s even before you hear the strong Glaswegian accent. Not some refined West End or Bearsden accent either; Little comes from those parts of the city where the C-word, as he reminds everyone, is just another word for “man” — and he’s not in the mood to restrain himself in so-called polite Edinburgh Fringe society.

At one point Little suggests that his show is just an excuse for him to shout, but that’s somewhat unfair; he’s a great storyteller, ready with laugh-out-loud observation of men and women, and already skilled at pacing his narratives to build up their potential.

So, compared with many of the stand-ups who have come to Edinburgh during August, Little’s a physically intimidating sight. This may explain why he deliberately chooses to open his show with such a seemingly innocuous subject: the etiquette of taking your dog for a walk in the local park. That said, it’s typical of the “hard Weegie” image that he apparently won’t let himself be slighted by anyone in front of his dogs.

At one point Little suggests that his show is just an excuse for him to shout, but that’s somewhat unfair; he’s a great storyteller, ready with laugh-out-loud observation of men and women, and already skilled at pacing his narratives to build up their potential. Thanks in no small way to his general demeanour, Little’s set also feels very grounded, even when he’s actually moving several stages beyond reasonable reality — no more so than when describing the numerous negotiations and changes in his life once his cuddles-loving girlfriend moves into his flat.

The honesty of Little’s observations and stories constantly comes through, not least when he’s talking about the drinking and drug-taking of his earlier years, and the depression he also experienced during his life. It plays well against his hard man image: I’ll certainly won’t forget the story behind him finding “a Snickers in a Mars Bar wrapper”, for example.

If there’s one disappointment, it’s that Little appears determined to leave the stage with a positive, up-beat message for his audience to take home with them. That’s a shame, because it feels like an unnecessarily epilogue after the genuine comedic sucker-punch involving an unforgettable stag party visit to a certain visitor attraction near Krakov in Poland. Maybe I just don’t want him to spoil his hard image too much.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The next big thing in Scottish comedy, Gary Little is a master storyteller with a gift to turn mundane, everyday experiences into pure comedy gold. From death to depression and dogs to Abba, all the classics are here. Despite his imposing physical presence - a 6’ 2” skinhead - Gary has an incredibly warm, personable style. Combine that with his unflinching honesty and openness, with just a hint of vulnerability, and audiences everywhere fall in love with his easy charm. ‘This man is a born raconteur’ (Scotsman). ‘F*cking riot ... hilarious’ (Bill Burr).