Dan Nightingale

Dan Nightingale

Originally from Preston, Lancashire Dan Nightingale started his comedy career while living in Newcastle in 2002. After working at The Hyena Comedy Café as a sound man for six months, he finally got on stage.

He moved to Manchester within 12 months he went from barman at the Frog & Bucket, to booking agent, to hosting the new act night and finally compering the weekends.

In June 2004 he turned professional. At that year's Edinburgh festival he performed as part of the Big Value Comedy Show, returning in 2005 as part of a double header with Josie Long.

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Dan Nightingale Is Trying His Best Not To Be A Dick

Review by Jay Richardson

Easy to recommend for an hour of consistent laughs, Dan Nightingale's new show also displays plenty of heart.

He risks milking the audience's goodwill with a pre-recorded intro from his adorable four-year-old nephew and a preamble on the sort of laughter he appreciates, an involuntary snort from an attractive lady being a particular favourite.

Apropos of his title, the Lancastrian is too painfully self-aware to be a proper dick – an aficionado of Def Jam Comedy, he can't follow in that tradition without feeling racist. But he still has his moments.

A recent and unlikely convert to running, a friend's career rise and generous hospitality have led to him shuffling around Chelsea and Kensington in skin-tight Lycra, seduced into casting off the working-class chip on his shoulder until a chance encounter with local wildlife turns him into a blustering trade unionist.

Alighting on many touchstones of a reliable club set, he reveals how at 33, he can't recover from boozy nights out as quickly as he used to, using it to set up the mortifying anecdote of how he was thrown out of McDonald's for racism.

Although he's essentially just a gobby bystander to a drunken mishap, perceptively and hilariously, he doesn't entirely absolve himself of the charge. The extent to which this short, bespectacled white man has absorbed the comedy stylings of Chris Rock, Bernie Mac and Kevin Hart, releasing them when his brain's befuddled by drink, is an object lesson in checking yourself or wrecking yourself. Nightingale is precisely the sort of person who starts giggling at a funeral. Or worse, during the whipping scene of Twelve Years A Slave...

For the sake of family solidarity, he's required to be hostile towards his ex-brother-in-law, despite his awareness that the guy's OK. And to follow his dad's lead in making light of his Parkinson's disease, with Nightingale Sr a textbook example of the entertaining discomfort you can provoke in strangers by being the first to acknowledge your difficulties.

There's a growing emotional draw to the show by this point, so that when Nightingale shares his insecurity about his new relationship, it's weighted with more than simply being a 'bit'. Regardless, the stand-out observation here, signified by the grudging reluctance of the crowd to agree with him, revolve around his discrepancy in parameters for partners in age, looks and rather more intimate matters.

Sometimes, he appears to accept, following the graphic account of a more sexually adventurous ex-partner, you just have to embrace your dickishness, giving the incident the full, incendiary Chris Rock commentary for an outrageously funny ending.

Enjoyable company as always, Nightingale seems to be edging closer to delivering a bona fide, structurally satisfying Edinburgh show, rather than just a piecemeal, elongated club set. Stabilising in his personal life as well, the future looks promising. Not too shabby for an irredeemable but likeable dick.

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Published: 16 Aug 2014

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