If you’ve ever seen Ron White before, you already know what to expect. There is whisky. There is an ashtray, which at least implies his historic affinity for cigars. There is heavy breathing picked up by a microphone. What follows is a master class in timing and careful word selection from a man who wears every year of his long spanning career like a ruddy but dazzling badge of honour.
With all the hit-or-miss theatre and comedy inundating the streets, Live in Scotchland is a failproof way to spend your evening.
White is a seasoned road comic, and you don’t need to be told this piece of information to figure it out. He handles the room with a slow burning confidence over his material and persona that demands attention, respect, and laughter. I say respect, but it also implies a sort of familiarity that can encourage hecklers, of which he had a few — one of whom was his wife, reminding him what the next joke in his set was supposed to be. There was a candidness to that moment as well as others in the show that made it feel like a uniquely personal experience, one that could only be found alongside the displacement a Texan must feel in Scotland.
Ideally, I’d be listening to Ron White in a leather booth in a restaurant, eating a steak, watching him entertain in a small group. This show feels almost at that level of casual-but-hilarious, his jokes so naturally woven into stories that there are times where you feel tricked into laughter. There was a Bill Cosby joke that I started off thinking was overdone, only to be slapped with a punchline that had me cackling because of its surprising perfection.
The show featured jokes from his older specials as well as new material, and that formula resulted in some structural disconnect and tonal changes. Jokes about gay marriage being legalised seemed repurposed from older bits about gay people wanting marriage to be legalised. This alongside some more whimsical jokes about geese and other neighbourhood animals created lulls in a show that I was otherwise enthusiastically engaged in. He himself said that the show was cobbled together, and there were times that I could feel it.
Ron White: Live in Scotchland is a fairly commercial show to see at the Fringe, but with White being the skilled performer that he is, it’s a high-quality, high entertainment value hour. With all the hit-or-miss theatre and comedy inundating the streets, Live in Scotchland is a failproof way to spend your evening.