Pity Laughs: A Tale of Two Gays

This show is so much more than a tale of two gays: it is a tale of success. As I came out of the small auditorium at Just the Tonic, it dawned on me that I had just experienced my first true gem of the 2017 Fringe.

I thoroughly recommend this show – you will, without a shadow of a doubt, leave feeling unclean and somewhat morally violated

Pity Laughs! is the debut brainchild of university friends, Mark and Will. They’re both gay, and one doesn’t have any parents: probably not the most obvious theme for comedy. Seamlessly mixing sections of stand-up with erotic diary readings and live music (featuring maracas made of Mark’s parents’ ashes, no less) the audience are led through the highs and lows (but mainly lows) of sexuality, inequality and grief. I challenge anyone to turn those themes into tears of laughter as the pair so straightforwardly did (through the classic medium of salt and vinegar crisps, no less). Gay orphans are not normally an amusing subject and I don’t know what was more shocking; the content of the night or just how hilarious I found it. It was equally refreshing and empowering to watch the twosome unashamedly take control of their injustices and weave them into a most chaotic and intelligent celebration of minority.

Before the show, Will stood on the door and wished us good luck (cue taking a seat at the back away from potential audience interaction). And it’s true, this show is not for everyone. A few walked out during a particularly graphic (and hysterical) reading and if you are visiting with parents I cannot stress enough how far you should keep them away – but that is the beauty of this show: it doesn’t apologise. You walk into their space and their hour begins, no exceptions. And with so much otherwise stacked against them I don’t think anyone has the right to disagree. Never have I seen such a stylish middle finger pointed at homophobia and general misfortune.

I thoroughly recommend this show – you will, without a shadow of a doubt, leave feeling unclean and somewhat morally violated but I guarantee you will do so with a smile on your face far greater than any post-show trauma that will, inevitably, occur.

Reviews by Matthew Sedman

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The Blurb

Mark Bittlestone’s parents are both dead. As if that wasn’t funny enough, he’s also gay. Will Dalrymple is just gay, which in his mind really isn’t funny enough. Join gays Mark and Will for half an hour of fact, half an hour of fiction and an hour of laughs. ‘Shockingly intimate, brilliantly crafted, whole-heartedly funny’ *****(TheTab.com). All profits going to the charities Just Like Us and Cancer Research UK.