Andrew Doyle: Zero Tolerance | Review by Steve Bennett
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Andrew Doyle: Zero Tolerance

Review by Steve Bennett

Ah, the breakup story. Where would comics be without it? But Andrew Doyle’s take on things proves an interesting change from the self-analytical norm, resulting in a thoughtful, witty and often ambiguous hour.

First up, his big news is that he’s decided to be a homophobe now; driven to it firstly by two irritatingly vacuous gays he encountered, secondly by being dumped by his boyfriend of seven years. So he's had enough of the entire LGBT community. And even the phrase ‘LGBT community’.

Doyle, an open, affable and occasionally pedantic thirty-something, doesn’t usually like to trade on his sexuality in his stand-up. So this is both his most ‘gay’ show yet and his least, as he turns away from his community and seeks an intelligent, articulate homophobe he can rally behind. The quest, needless to say, proves difficult.

The irony meter is clearly set to high; taking a contrary view so he can destroy from within. Sometimes this works well to give an extra level to mocking the hatred; but sometimes the disingenuity doesn’t add much. Agreeing with the oddballs who say floods are God’s vengeance on single-sex marriage might seem to defy the trend, but the actual gags are the same easy quips countless others crack.

However his ill-fated dabblings in intolerance are only one thread in a multi-stranded show, which does lead to certain inconsistencies when he switches between routines (‘I’m not contradictory, I’m expressing the fundamental dichotomies of man,’ he philosophises). Similarly, in some of the more arch moments, he teases the audience’s soft liberalism, as if he were anything else himself – but he does it well, and it’s amusing to have your own certainties tweaked.

Whatever Doyle muses on, he always returns to his relationship break-up, getting increasingly twisted with the heroic quantities of red wine he chugs. Is this cathartic, or is he just wallowing? A bit of both, but his bitterness is frequently entertaining.

The result is a broadly satisfying show. Doyle seems to be transitioning into a smart comic territory, but can’t completely resist the lure of the broader, club-style set, which still provides more laughs than his more mature material can land.

Review date: 5 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Stand 3 and 4

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