Andrew Lawrence: Don't Just Do Something, Sit There

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Andrew Lawrence has never been afraid to tinker with his persona for his Edinburgh shows. So never mind that last year he was nominated for the if.comedy award, he’ll still have a go at reinventing himself, if only slightly, for 2008.

Don’t worry, he’s still a ‘scrawny sack of disappointment,’ to use his own words; a miserable nihilist, full of bitter, twisted hatred for life itself, as well as everyone he has the misfortune to encounter in its wretched progress.

But while the pestilence still festers within, it only occasionally erupts to the surface. The bilious acrimony is no longer unremitting, as Lawrence eases back on the odium to reveal a human side, or at least what a close approximation to it.

Still, this is no show for the easily offended; or even the quite difficult to offend for that matter. There are off-colour gags about Josef Fritzl, Madelaine McCann, Jersey care homes and Max Mosley that are so near the knuckle you could extract bone marrow. But however unpleasant the subject matter, they are redeemed by being damn fine jokes.

He also gets away with such material because it fits so naturally into his bleak worldview, rather than seeming like gags included for shock value alone. Plus, he takes great pains to portray himself as a pathetic loser before he starts on anyone else, so you can understand where the bitterness comes from. Where once his being ginger was the source of his self-deprecating jokes, now it’s the very fact he’s a comedian… what a pitiable job that is, the last bastion of timid, self-loathing social losers.

He’s a bit cheekier with the delivery now, too, taking time to salve the initial impact of the hard blows. This less intense approach means the hour is not such a white-knuckle ride as last year, trading some of the gut-straining laughs for a touch more accessibility. Well, when your face is plastered on cabs – as Lawrence’s is – you need a bit of wider appeal.

Not that he’s sold out, as he rails acrimoniously at the despicable state society’s got itself into, where people pop anti-depressants because they believe, wrongly, that they’re supposed to be perpetually happy, when despair is the true human condition. The show’s title might seem like a clarion call for apathy, but it’s more about not having the blind ambition to chase ever more materialistic gains, which is always going to be a losing game.

So, for an hour with a clear message, a uniquely misanthropic point of view and some cracking gags, you should ignore the advice Lawrence gives in the title and do something: go see the show.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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