There’s a point in every show when stand-up Scott Agnew drops what he calls ‘the G bomb’; that is, he mentions that he’s gay. Given that Agnew is six feet five inches tall, burly and with a strong Glaswegian accent, he knows that this can come as a genuine shock to some people, not least those with somewhat clichéd ideas of how a homosexual man (even one from Glasgow) might appear and behave. Especially when–unlike last year–the gay men’s world doesn’t then go on to form the backdrop for the rest of his act.
Yet it’s fair to say that Agnew does sort of play up to one stereotype; the dour Scot who feels he’s a luckless bastard, his hopes for a more positive future ground to dust not only by ‘the little things that send you mental’, but also the hell that is other people able to turn even his smallest of personal victories stale. These can range from the purveyor of expensive chips ‘n‘ cheese up at this year’s Rock Ness festival to the Twilight Zone time-keeping of Citylink coach drivers; or even whatever well-meaning journalist decided to place Agnew at number 20 in the Scotland on Sunday list of Eligible Bachelors of the Year.
Agnew comes across as a natural, relaxed raconteur, self-effacing (he says he ‘falls in love like a drunk falls into a hedge’), mock hostile to anyone who admits to being English (or at least from London) in the audience, and yet able to riff and build on how his life hasn’t quite worked out as he might have once hoped. There is real heart in his stories, but they’re presented with consummate skill; what might appear to be a simple throwaway remark can return and return, each time with added punch and laughter.
Agnew has come to a conclusion about life that it would be unprofessional to reveal in a review; but I can say that it enables him to neatly tie up the show in a way that echoes its beginning and gives the whole show a satisfying narrative shape. It also, quite probably, leaves a smile on your face as you depart the venue.