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Lee Ness: The Gay Bernard Manning

Note: This review is from 2001

Review by Steve Bennett

Let's get one thing straight from the start: Lee Ness has not got an Edinburgh show.

Yes, there's something billed in the programme, but what you actually get is a performance that runs a tad over half an hour.

Now considering there's a five-minute warm-up from Canadian comic Dawn Whitwell (which really did little in the way of genuinely warming anyone up), and a stupid song at the end, you're left with a routine that runs a little over 20 minutes.

That's not a show. That's a set that's over-run by a few seconds.

I felt cheated. Consider how much worse I'd have felt if I'd actually paid to get in.

But what's this gay Bernard Manning actually like? Well, not much like the slogan, great marketing gimmick as it is, would suggest.

Sure, he tackled what used to be labelled 'blue' material, but he wasn't racist or sexist. Perhaps the tag refers more to his aggressive stage manner, which did seem a little overly in-your-face for the modest, sober and easy-mannered afternoon audience. Or perhaps it's just because he's overweight.

This is a comic clearly more used to rowdy comedy club audiences, and the style of his humour - rough and ready gags belted out at a fair old pace - reflected that.

He also relied heavily on making suggestive, and downright disgusting, come-ons to audience members, which again seemed out of place for such a relaxed crowd.

Ness is clearly a fish out of water here. A comic, who can no doubt storm a club, taking an Edinburgh slot with no idea how to approach it in terms of material or style.

Still, although it was a waste of time, at least it didn't waste much of it.

Review date: 1 Aug 2001
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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