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Fred MacAulay: Legally Bald

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Marissa Burgess

Fourteen years as BBC Radio Scotland’s morning presenter ensures a sold-out gig for Fred MacAulay, although the sharp intake of breath when he swears or cracks a gleeful close-to-the-bone one-liner early in the show, suggest at least some who’ve come out to see him have to adjust to the difference between stand-up and broadcasting.

They soon settle into it, though, and there are plenty of others that already knew him as the seasoned comic he is. He may be lesser known on the southern side of Hadrian's wall but a major force on the comedy circuit above it.

With 23 Fringes under his belt, it's no surprise that he's as slick and sharp as he is. He begins the set with a few topical gags, the material about the riots can't be any more than a few days old and the routine on Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's marriage in Edinburgh only a few weeks.

The only proverbial fly is the hoary nature of MacAulay's chosen topics, there are routines on those most common of stand-up themes: hotel porn, air travel and balding. Not that anyone in the room had a problem with it. His hotel porn routine though touch laddish, is playful and self deprecating. Plus there's an inadvertent double act with a woman in the second row who is clearly heard to say 'sorry son' to the young man next to her at a vital point.

His routine about Ryanair is neatly filtered through his naïve 19-year-old son who excitedly informs his Dad that he's booked a flight for a holiday with friends for 68p. Of course anyone who has experienced the frustration of attempting to book a flight with one of the cheap airlines, can fully empathise – and the son angle freshens it up.

Elsewhere he covers the more unusual topic of climbing Kilimanjaro, which includes a nice routine about how his guide advises that your body will tell you if it's had enough, cue MacAulay's comedically straight- talking inner voice.

Overall it's a solid hour of gags; though it might not be ground-breaking, you really can't fault it.

Review date: 13 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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