Paul Black's Fringe debut had a lot to live up to. As a longterm fan of his viral comedy videos on TikTok and YouTube, I went in with high expectations. Thank goodness Worst Case Scenario lived up to them (and more). Against the dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle at sunset, it was certainly enough to distract me from the bracingly cold wind at the openair venue.
sketches that are just as good, if not better, than their online counterparts
Black's effortless stage presence instantly made the audience feel comfortable and relaxed, and his witty anecdotes about his family and life in lockdown were great. By far the best part of the set was the return of his iconic viral characters, among them traveljunkie88, an American tourist in Scotland, and gh0stbøy, a middle-class musician appropriating working-class culture. With guest appearances from his brother Mark Black, and Kendra McPherson (both of whom have appeared in his videos before), the sketches were just as good, if not better, than their online counterparts. As a Glaswegian, the references to specific areas (such as Drumchapel, pronounced "Drum-chap-elle" by gh0stbøy and his mates), tickled me in just the right way.
As well as the sketches and skits we know and love, Black's comedy addresses more serious issues. He talks in detail about his anxiety and how it impacted his experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as his relationship with his family. It is important for comedy to address issues like these without making light of them, which Black does well. The transitions between cracking jokes about Glasgow to discussing the depths of the second winter lockdown are seamless.
Considering this is Black's first ever live show, Worst Case Scenario is truly great. Blending standup and sketches with a Glasgow twist, Black and his special guests have created something hilarious, which anyone would find funny (even those who aren't from Glasgow).