There is always plenty of political comedy at the Fringe, but rarely as passionate and earnest as James Meehan’s
It’s impossible not to be on side with Meehan and share in his outrage
Meehan has an intense yet affable stage presence, and his material never pulls any punches. We learn that 90 people a month die after being declared fit for work, along with some information about Andrew Lloyd-Weber’s voting habits in the House of Lords that will make you think twice about your love for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. This is all pretty bleak stuff, and Meehan never pretends otherwise.
The jokes were worth waiting for when they did come – the humour was often sharp and on-point, and blended well with the often serious tone. Stereotypes about racism in the working class lent Meehan some good gags, but he was also honest about his sympathy for the disenfranchised who were schooled in their hostility to foreigners by the media. A dialogue with himself about self-doubt was also very funny, but with more than a hint of sadness.
It’s impossible not to be on side with Meehan and share in his outrage, and there was a great communal feel about the gig. Things never felt preachy because Meehan came across as so genuine. All of what he has to say is genuinely important and needs to be heard, especially when correcting some persistent misconceptions about the working class in the tabloids.
There are funnier stand-ups at this year’s Fringe, but Meehan stands out because of how passionately he believes in what he is saying. His political fervour is softened by his ability to laugh at himself and his likeable stage presence, all making this an enjoyable exploration of an important topic.