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Comedy at the Dome

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty successful day. I’d planned on meeting up with a lot of different people and, as tends to happen in Edinburgh, I’d bumped into pretty much all of them four minutes after stepping off the train at Waverley station. This left the evening free for some entertainment and, having met up with Ben Luke in the Pleasance Dome for a quick bite around seven, I opted to stay there and take in some stand-up comedy.

John Gordillo’s show F*ckonomics (the asterix is his, not mine) started well enough. He was at pains to point out that this was not the finished product, it was a work in progress and, not unreasonably for a preview, he was trying to work out a few timing issues… Fair enough. The material was funny and, when he became lost, confused or needed to reach for the script, he was more than capable of raising a laugh in the process.  I enjoyed myself, despite the shambolic lurching from point to point – let’s face it, there are comedians out there who’ve made highly successful careers out of something very similar. All fine so far then – until the end. The end was a train wreck, he said so himself (more than once) but it didn’t need pointing out.  In a tortuous bid to find some kind of poignancy and meaning, his summation went on and on, probably lasting five or ten minutes, but feeling like a lifetime. It was utterly devoid of laughter and left me wishing he would just get the f*ck off stage (the asterix on this occasion being mine).

I was still happy to give Gordillo the benefit of the doubt, the majority of his show had, after all, been amusing and intelligent stuff . The thing is, I then headed over to see Andrew Lawrence – Soul-Crushing Vicissitudes of Fortune and, within minutes of Lawrence taking the stage, I was laughing so hard I almost lost the ability to breathe – with Gordillo’s finale, all I lost was the will to live.

Lawrence’s comedy is relentless, merciless, and viciously funny. As both nominee and winner of countless awards, it’s difficult to understand why he isn’t a household name.  Actually – scratch that… given the shamelessly offensive nature of the material, it’s perhaps not that difficult.

The gap between the two performers was huge. Gordillo is a likeable, intelligent and funny man, and would undoubtedly be the life and soul of any party. Lawrence, by contrast, is a master comedian. You can workshop your material as much as you like, but it is the fundamentals you’d be well advised to sort out before bothering audiences with your musings on life.

Andrew Lawrence will be performing 5-30th August (not 19th), 9.35pm at the Pleasance Dome. John Gordillo is still ironing out the kinks.