Belfast comic Micky Bartlett is here to deliver a message. A message of tolerance and inclusivity. After all, what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? Surprisingly quite a lot, unless you happened to drive to the show in a Bentley. In eclectic rhythms,
Anyone who can successfully make a comedic link between anal sex orgasms and Joe Pesci deserves credit.
Bartlett’s pragmatic, down-to-earth clarity is fundamental in his routine that locks the greater aspects of his comedic output together with his likeability to successfully cater to all corners of the British Isles and beyond. He opted to give the people what they wanted, and for the main part Bartlett delights in pulling off an amusing Fringe showcase. He uses the audience expertly by adapting quickly to the amused and longing faces before him, though he could have maybe used more than just the same two people for sketches. There are strong set pieces to this gig, with particular highlights including his pleasantries about Theresa May and the dangers of rapist dolphins lurking off the Irish coast.
There was a lull in the middle of the evening, however, which bore some scrutiny. Bartlett makes great links between his topics but lingers too long on a subject he becomes comfortable with, anxious to move forward with the show and promising future ripostes on different targets that never actually materialise. More damaging is purporting a self-regulating mantra of non-offensiveness whilst relying upon the taboo for his more popular jokes, belying the nature of his left-wing convictions. For instance, he chastises his racist uncle for a solid eight minutes before nose diving into comparing penis sizes between Chinese and black people. It is not the joke itself but this attempt to bypass his dependence upon risqué humour whilst condemning his relative that feels insincere and doesn’t leave him blameless. Yet in other areas, he is not committed to go for the jugular when the opportunity arises for fear of offending. But that ultimately stems from Bartlett’s desire to please everyone. It is admirable, yes, but it doesn’t let him achieve his maximum potential. Indeed, his greatest facet is also his greatest weakness.
Still, if Bartlett sees this as an uncomfortable compromise, it isn’t unduly apparent on stage. Anyone who can successfully make a comedic link between anal sex orgasms and Joe Pesci deserves credit. And the ruminations on political correctness ultimately do not eclipse the humour. Without overstepping itself, Typical is delivered piquantly as a fruitful opener to this year’s festival.