The Gilded Balloon’s So You Think You’re Funny is a comedy omnibus and competition, offering little showcase slots for Fringe veterans and newcomers. Lasting just over an hour, the show has time for many funny moments yet seems to lack the cohesion required for a truly successful comedy buffet.
Although the evening offered plenty to enjoy, the frenetic pace of the show reduced the offerings of this competent bunch to little more than a humorous taster dish.
First on was compare Gordan Southern, an energetic Brixtonite celebrating his 16th year as a comic. After warming himself up with a little prepared material, Southern turned his attention towards the audience; his face sporting a huge relieved smile upon finding out that the front row was made up entirely of PE teachers from Livingstone. Following this revelation the quality of his intermittent appearances was assured as friendly teasing and a forced star jump challenge encouraged a warmth in the room and hilarity amongst his beefy foils. Confident and in control of proceedings, Southern’s Your New Favourite Comedian show seems like a solid bet.
In tune with the blasted Skrillex segway was Steve Brushar, a jumpy young comedian exhibiting some high quality awkward schoolboy humour. After a few quick jibes directed at the front row, Brushar threw himself into a shrill, self-deprecating ramble that touched upon his deep seated daddy issues, inability to be a lad and sexual failings. If mucky gems such as “I have wet dreams and wake up prematurely” failed to induce the reaction they deserved, it is perhaps due to his nervy act being a little too convincing.
Next on was Demi Lardner, an Australian comic with, in her own words, “a face like a 12 year old boys.” In no uncertain terms her set was not a success. On the basis of past form and her victory at last year’s RAW Comedy Awards, she is most definitely an extremely competent comedian. In the context of Sunday night Gilded Balloon however, her stilted one-liners failed to match the tempo of the first two acts. Following the muted reaction awarded her opening, left-field gambit, the audience lost a little faith and Lardner failed to recover.
After this dip came Rob Rouse, a Mancunian veteran with a host of television experience and seemingly inexhaustible reserve of energy. Opening with a surreal geography teacher meets drug dealer anecdote before gleefully ploughing through a selection of fine observational humour, Rous exhibited his well seasoned reputation in tailoring the performance to the 30 something crowd.
Although the evening offered plenty to enjoy, the frenetic pace of the show reduced the offerings of this competent bunch to little more than a humorous taster dish. Certainly appetites were wet, but as a spectacle it is probably best avoided in favour of a fuller, more accessible format.