Nick Sun’s latest show, Potty Time!, is truly bizarre. His comedy is a conglomeration of filth, absurdity, dance, poetry, anecdotes and wild, impulsive tangents. Usually in stand-up, audiences are aware that, whilst the comedian seems to be speaking in the present, sets are precisely planned and rehearsed beforehand. With Nick Sun, there is no such indication of prior planning. Regardless of this, Potty Time! treads the fine line between genius and absolute madness, sometimes taking great, unashamed leaps in either direction.
Sun’s set doesn’t focus on anything in particular, nor does it seem to be inspired by anything, an approach which is both daunting and refreshing for an audience. It constantly switches style, theme and tone which, although effective for keeping an audience on their toes, tends to be quite alienating as we never get a rounded picture of the man himself. Unlike other stand-up comedians, Sun lacks a consistent stage persona. Some jokes are cruel and antagonistic, others rely on his insecurities and anxiety in the face of scrutiny, then there are those that take a complete departure into whimsical mayhem. The cracks that begin to appear in his once stony façade are then absurdly filled by something completely different and unexpected.
It is unlikely that you would have seen anything quite like Potty Time! before and, as far as professional stand-up goes, this is one of the most mercurial and inconsistent sets around. There are rare glimpses of brilliant ideas hidden amongst rambling diatribes, and many of the better anecdotes tail off into mediocre gags involving the toilet humour inferred so bluntly by the show’s title. Watching this set is an exhausting but fascinating experience.
Sun is clearly a competent comedian and can be admired for breaking the traditional structure of stand-up, even if it is not always a successful endeavour. A show that is guaranteed to leave you speechless, you come away feeling unsure about what it is you have just experienced. Given that this show is part of the free Fringe, it is worth going to and making your own mind up about Sun. If nothing else, Potty Time! is certainly a show that will give you something to think about for a long time afterwards.