Sam Lake wants to be a Daddy. But that does NOT mean that he wants kids. What Sam wants is BDE – which in this show means Big Daddy Energy. If you don’t know what that means, think of a fatherly figure: someone who is confident, suave, and ready to scoop you up in their arms and make everything ok. Still stuck? Think Stanley Tucci.
He’ll get you to laugh your troubles away
Lake might not be the spitting image of Stanley Tucci, but he quickly gets the packed-out Monkey Barrel audience roaring with laughter. He doesn't perhaps personify BDE exactly, but he does radiate BFE; that’s Best Friend Energy if you didn’t know (which you wouldn’t, as I just made it up). He’s the kind of person you want to share gossip with in the office, or share a laugh with over drinks.
The set covers everything from office managers adorned with dozens of lanyards – one of my favourite moments was his hilarious description of “Build-A-Claire” – to ill-advised rugby team orgies. Lake is chatty with the audience, but resists full-on bantering back and forth, mostly sticking to his scripted material. However, there are some knowing nods written in for the Edinburgh Fringe audience.
Most laughs were during his first 15 minutes. He opens with a pre-recorded skit where he’s portraying a problematic white man who proclaims himself ‘cancelled’ at every media opportunity. Pre-recorded segments can sometimes hit a bum note with audiences, but this was a huge hit, though it was sometimes hard to fully see the screen for those of us at the back. Although he doesn’t return to this character on stage, it’s clear there’s plenty more material he can mine there if he chooses. Once up in front of the crowd in person, he displays a charming self-awareness of his own privileges that makes it clear what kind of audience he’s after: one as warm-hearted and welcoming as he is.
In amongst the laughs, Lake makes time for some more reflective material. He discusses an abuse of trust experienced not long after starting his exploration as a gay man. This allows him to create a safe space where he can address some of the darker realities behind the laughs. Despite its relatively sombre nature, Lake shows you can come out the other side from a negative experience still laughing, and he is a clever enough comic to know how to restore the room’s energy afterwards.
Although you’ve likely heard other comics discuss their experiences of gay dating, STI clinics, and office politics before, Lake has the distinct advantage of being extremely personable from the get-go. Within minutes he’ll get you to laugh your troubles away for the hour, and if that isn’t Big Daddy Energy, I’m not sure what is.