Patrick Rolink

Patrick Rolink

Senior Moments: The Twilight Zone

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Jay Richardson

The Grumpy Old ... series and books were a handy banner under which to lump the gripes of humorists of a certain vintage, catering to an audience predominantly confused and disgusted by young people and modernity.

Relentlessly negative, the series eventually ran out of steam. But the fact remains that there exists a growing demographic of mature stand-up patrons who appreciate comedy that they can empathise with.

All clustered around the half century mark, Patrick Rolink, John Gillick and Phil Differ are canny enough to temper their irritation at the universe with hefty doses of defeated self-deprecation.

Rolink tends to lean, heavily, on his weight, taking regular pot shots at himself, before deflecting it outwards with a snide line about larger Scottish celebrity Michelle McManus. Still, the explanation for his ‘Spiderman’ nickname is brilliant, though I’ve previously heard it elsewhere.

Grumbles about airport security and Americans’ inanity and obesity are familiar, yet he shows considered wit in championing Loch Ness over Disney World. He plays to the home crowd, imagining the first exotic Scots to arrive in Canada and contrasting the effete, affected wine tasting of the English with the down-to-earth, get-it-down-you approach of his compatriots. He uses the broadest of strokes but he tags on a nice observation about swearing.

His experience of performing to more than 4,000 people at Carnegie Hall in New York yields a bluntly effective punchline but it’s a shame he couldn’t develop it into something more substantial. Rolink offers little more than straight commentary on the notorious BBC Scotland poverty documentary The Scheme, a few gags about Tourette’s Syndrome aren’t strong enough to stop them feeling sneakily exploitative, then veers into misogyny contrasting a dog and wife’s respective loyalty, though there’s a very funny payoff. He closes well too, with amusing accounts from his day job as commercial director of Albion Rovers FC and scattering his Airdrie supporting grandfather’s ashes.

John Gillick has always possessed a dry style. But after some stock musings on the unseasonably warm local weather, he once again rolled out one of the hoariest, oft-repeated lines about m

arriage ever plucked from the dusty vaults of the ages. Nor was it an isolated example. Accomplished at damning his ‘better half’ with the faintest of praise, he’s actually capable of insights worthy of his efficient delivery, nailing the true ridiculousness of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding vows. The irony is that when approaching the defining differences between men and women, relating in detail his home life and extending his behaviour to absurd extremes, he’s a funnier, much more original performer.

Seven years a stand-up, Phil Differ is the trio’s relative newcomer. But the agile mind behind an impressive resume of writing, producing and directing broadcast comedy is evident from the outset, in which he complains about the stuck-in-the-seventies vibe of Christmas hits inspiring a lovely Gary Glitter quip. He’s certainly not afraid of playing with bad taste, as an uncharacteristically shocking swipe at Gail Porter’s expense shows, to widespread wincing.

Elsewhere, while he appreciates the obligatory contrast between middle-class Edinburgh and grittier Glasgow, the writing is sharp and current, reflecting the newspaper habit of someone who’s produced so many topical radio programmes.

Plenty of older male comics have a story of providing a stool sample for the doctor, and there’s little to distinguish his extended account, nor his perception of the eclecticism of Lidl’s supermarket shelves. These are isolated examples though, in a loose but never rambling set that benefits hugely from a deliciously self-mocking tale of a blackout and rush to hospital, as well as his tribute to the legendary human penis exhibited in the nearby Hunterian Museum: The Excalibur of Wallopers!

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Published: 1 Apr 2012

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2006

Patrick Rolink: Bhoy from the Bush


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