Shit of the Fringe

The Shit of the Fringe is a weird show to review. On the one hand its title and premise assure us that these acts will be amongst the very worst you will find in the Fringe. This should obviously be taken into account in any kind of critical appraisal of the show. If people go expecting shit and they find shit, is that really the show’s fault? Shouldn’t it be commended on delivering its promises? However, judging by the flyers that were being handed out after the show these guys don’t really fit the bill. Glowing pull quotes from Kate Copstick, Arthur Smith and The Guardian adorn their advertising and it’s not hard to see why. These guys are actually really good.

Shit of the Fringe performs a noble task with great comedy.

When you think about it this shouldn’t be a surprise. All reviewers have lapses in judgement (although this goes for the good reviews too) and some amazing comics have had some very bad reviews as a result. Also, it’s pretty clear that any comic who is willing to appear on a show called Shit of the Fringe certainly has one thing; a pretty robust sense of humour. Dave Chawner is the self-deprecating and wonderfully self-aware MC of the show. Taking well aimed pot shots at his own androgyny, he is able to charge the crowd with good will for the oncoming comic.

This goodwill was certainly not wasted on Paul Duncan McGarrity, probably the strongest comedian of the show. He’s brilliantly funny, with a zany wit and a real talent for unnerving people in the front row. His endearingly ordinary material, like weight issues and red headed girlfriends, is crafted into a set that is both original and engaging. Pretty hilarious too. Next up is Charmian Hughes who even in such a short time seems to give a sense of both the gravity and the humour of her comic potential. However, one stinging reference to know-nothing spotty 18 year old boys reviewing for Broadway Baby had me squirming a good bit. But just to put the record straight I'm not 18 years old.

Next up was Richard Wright who, though he used a few lame Christian gags towards the end (although they came quite refreshingly from the perspective of a Christian), managed to make kazoo jokes witty. An impressive feat. Finally came Luke Mallison whose hilarious set revolved around how reviewers consistently misspelling his name has led to the creation of a doppelganger comic who gets reviewed extremely well while the reviews that got his name right were consistently bad. (Note: he was the only act without a flyer with his name on it, so I too have probably misspelt his name.)

I can’t speak for other reviewers on other days who might have had their reasons for giving shit reviews to these comics. I, however, am unable to write one such review. Really what this feels like is an above par pick of the fringe show with a funnier title. Shit of the Fringe performs a noble task with great comedy.

Reviews by Rory Mackenzie

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The Blurb

Tired of all the Pick of the Fringe shows? Worn-out by Fringe hyperbole? This afternoon showcase has all of the comedians that have got bad reviews and deserve more! The best shit show in town!