Scott Agnew: I've Snapped My Banjo String, Let's Just Talk

Scott Agnew is looking good, these days; whether that’s down to him drinking less is unclear, though it’s clearly a bit of a culture shock on the night of this review as it’s his first experience of doing a late Sunday night show at least several drinks behind most of his audience. But he’s certainly honest about it; open too about just how quickly he’s spiralling off-script, riffing with some of the more excitable members of a small but attentive audience. Not least the American who admits to understanding perhaps just 5-10% of what Scott’s says in his fairly broad Glaswegian accent.

If you’re looking for smooth, word-perfect comedy, then this probably isn’t for you; if you’re looking for an honest good laugh, though, Scott’s definitely your man.

During some – though not all – of his past shows Scott has held back on “dropping the G-bomb”, i.e. coming out as gay, until well into the set. He’s well aware that, as a gruff six-foot-five Glaswegian, he’s not the stereotypical image of a homosexual Scotsman – and doesn’t like to waste any impact that delivering that small piece of information can have on an audience. Not on this occasion, though; he starts his routine by checking that everyone in his audience – especially the three men sat in the front row – know that they’re in for “a bit of a poof show” and not something to do with folk music. Though he’s not, to his mother’s alleged disappointment, one of those useful, stylish “decorating poofs”.

This is just the first in a succession of tales and asides that cast him in a bleak light, ranging from the trials and tribulations of finding breakfast in early morning Glasgow to trying not to be a sex tourist in Prague. Another thread through this set is how Scott has been diagnosed with a succession of addictions which – he now realises – were more likely symptoms of a more fundamental condition, rather than isolated problems on their own. He still has a “bomb” of sorts, which delivers towards the end of the show, and it’s arguably the most thought-provoking moment of the hour.

Overall, this holds together reasonably well as a stand-up show, but the real pleasure is seeing Scott surf on whatever unexpected waves his audience provides – and, on the night of this review, these range from seemingly unstoppable drunken hysteria in the back row to one man having to pop out to sort out his wife’s accommodation problems. Scott’s constantly on the ball, though; the older man’s heterosexuality is confirmed through his decades-plus Nokia phone being simply incapable of running Grindr.

If you’re looking for smooth, word-perfect comedy, then this probably isn’t for you; if you’re looking for an honest good laugh, though, Scott’s definitely your man.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Agnew returns with his sequel to 2012's Tales of The Sauna, moving out the steam room into the living room. The consequences of gay sex going Abigail's Party. Hailed as a master storyteller, his 2016 offering is a snapshot of hardcore, working-class gay life touching on mental health, sexual health and general misadventure. The former Scottish Comedian of the Year's language and imagery is bold and brash – the stories deeply personal. 'Electrifying' (Guardian). 'Unmissable' (Chortle.co.uk). 'Tough, funny, original' (Attitude.co.uk).