If the word’s not out yet, take note; Greg Proops does not tolerate hecklers. His furious diatribe against a drunk in the opening section started out amusingly – you’d be hard pressed to hear another putdown delivered with such panache – but nearly derailed the show when it became apparent he wasn’t joking about having the offender ejected.
As security failed to respond with any sense of urgency, the awkward atmosphere grew and proved difficult to shake even after the situation had been dealt with; a costly move for a minimal disruption. The stylish San Franciscan is clearly a force to be reckoned with but it’s much more enjoyable when that energy is directed into his lyrically vitriolic satire.
Still, he gets back to business eventually with tales of a misspent youth delivering pizzas to customers with ‘intermittent teeth’ while high on crank meth, an experience that leads him to conclude that actually, drugs are fine and fairly essential if you want to have anything interesting to tell the grandkids. Elsewhere he turns his beam on American politics with varying success; his take on how ‘black Jesus’ triumphed over ‘Uncle Hairdo’ is amusing but feels unfinished while a gag about Obama’s ‘hope and change’ slogan – ‘Now we hope someone rich drops some change’ – is weak.
But 20 years after his first Edinburgh Fringe, it’s heartening to see Proops still has a fire in his belly and while he might find a more valuable target than the fatuous Jeremy Clarkson, his case for electing America’s first female president is as convincing as it is funny.
This is far from a seamless show but at the times when he’s at full throttle, Proops is heads and shoulders above other comics.
Published: 18 Aug 2013
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