In the UK, the hirsute bear of a man that is US comic Rob
Delaney is probably better known for being the Comedy King of Twitter (and for
starring alongside Sharon Horgan in Channel 4's funny and frank sitcom
nestled amongst the wanking mimes and chat about bodily fluids, are his perspectives on parenthood.
The Bostonian-turned-Londoner starts his first Scottish show by letting us know that he was running late, and he seems unsettled by his unexpected tardiness. While he gets into his stride he does the oh-so-British thing of talking about the strangely hot and oppressive weather. He also professes his deep and enduring love of the NHS. (Although, as you'd expect, he uses much more graphic terms than this.) And he delights in contrasting our system with America's 'if you don't pay, you don't get' healthcare model.
But that's where the niceties end. There's a firm focus on sex, his relationship with his wife and masturbation. Lots and lots of masturbation. But there's nothing puerile or hackneyed about this. It's raw stuff which, at times, involves vivid and surreal images. There are times when it's clear that word play is his foreplay, and there's a weirdly lyrical description of him taking a Peeping Tom role when his friend's neighbour has an S&M party.
Surprisingly, given he occupies the edgy end of the comedy spectrum, more pedestrian topics make an appearance too. They come in the shape of the perils of online shopping, and policemen who are more interested in stuffing their faces than fighting crime. And, nestled amongst the wanking mimes and chat about bodily fluids, are his perspectives on parenthood. It's a thread that runs through the set, and dominates the final section. Although he steers well clear of the whole, tired 'having children has made me consider my mortality' thing, his description of the activities you can no longer do when tiny people are constantly in need of your attention doesn't really add anything fresh to our knowledge about this subject.
Delaney also manages to cover sports bras, his wife's post-birth vagina and AIDS. All this makes him sound like some hideous creature that you wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift with. But his mixture of affability and brutality is engaging, and he delivers his material as someone who knows he's living on Planet Idiot (and is one of them).
It's clear that the inside of his cheek's probably bruised from having his tongue pressed so firmly against it, and he's more than a little fond of recounting situations which don't show him in the best light. Both things which stop him from coming across as nasty and mean-spirited.
Delaney's brand of creatively scatological, observational humour is often shocking and not always immediately (or sometimes at all), relatable. But it's entertaining, compelling and insightful.