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Seann Walsh: Ying & Young

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

We get an unflattering image of Seann Walsh’s life from his second Edinburgh hour. He spends a lot of the time affecting the demeanour of a drunken derelict stumbling through life, and much of the rest describing how utterly lazy he is.

We’ve all been there of course – that’s the universal appeal of his brand of observational stand-up – but Walsh seems to live it more than most; perhaps explaining why he looks much older than his twentysomething years, with an almost constant look of someone who’s just been woken up and isn’t sure where he is.

Yet that deceptive youth means his material has a particularly contemporary feel. For him, nostalgia is early Mortal Kombat and Sonic The Hedgehog. He can see the inconvenience of pre-digital TV that even just slightly older folk would just accept as the way things were. But as Walsh acts out the palaver of tuning your set to your video recorder – video recorder! – the stupid inefficiency of the process is wittily revealed.

But he’s so modern, his material tackles such concerns as the correct way to curl around a laptop to passively watch a film, again demonstrating showing his usual level of activity.

Yet there’s a downside to youth: he clearly doesn’t remember the late-night ITV show of the early Nineties, Get Stuffed!, as it was pretty much the cookery show for drunks that he wishes existed for people like him.

As with any observational stand-up; there’s a fine distinction between material that we can all identify with, and simply describing the over-familiar. Much of Walsh’s inspiration seems fresh, although a couple of routines – in particular those about sending the cashier for items at late-night garages and the art of surreptitiously using the toilet at a stranger’s house – do feel like well-trodden ground. And if his comments about people who can sleep on the train when he can’t even nod off with the slightest distraction seems familiar – well, that’s because he did in his debut last year, so docked points for that.

Mainstream comedy in this genre is much harder than it looks (for all his detractors there is a very good reason why Michael McIntrye is so successful) yet Walsh has a pretty good strike rate. He’s not reinventing the wheel… but he is making humorously astute comments about its spokes.

Review date: 9 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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