Kevin Hayes: The Devil's Drop
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2001
With a depth of research to match his wealth of gags, Hayes examines the birth and growth of the alcohol and its constantly shifting public image. Were the Dark Ages just one big collective black-out? How did 18th Century gin consumption help win the war against France? Isn't it time that the story of alcohol was told? After all, we owe it everything and the truth should be known
Although alcohol is perhaps not the most challenging of subjects for a comic to tackle, Kevin Hayes nonetheless finds new ground to cover in this amusing and engaging history of drink.
This likeable Irishman admits that covering booze's 8,000 years of social impact in just one hour is a challenge - and it's one not helped by an unnecessary break 20 minutes in.
But what he comes up with is a meticulously-researched, engaging and intelligent commentary on mankind's favourite drug.
It covers the gamut from ancient history to gin palaces and Jesus's penchant for wine to its effect on football hooliganism, making some surprisingly serious political points on the way.
And it's crammed full of trivia, so in the unlikely event that you don't find the show funny, at least you'll have learned something.