Des Clarke

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Following stints on Saturday morning telly and local radio, Glasgow boy Des Clarke has returned to the stand-up that landed him those jobs in the first place for his first solo Edinburgh run.

To be frank, a full hour is a lot to take of his relentlessly nervous delivery, and he doesn't seem to have quite enough material to fill it. But then that's hardly surprising given how quickly he burns through it - he needs twice as many gags to fill the same time as a more easygoing act.

Clarke's technique is to babble on incessantly, ramming huge sequences of bad puns together to make big, dense chunks of punchlines. Each on its own might not be much cop, but his hope is that by packing them in, the cumulative effect is bigger than the sum of its parts.

The quickly flip-flopping delivery sees him nesting clauses upon clauses as he corrects 'mistakes' or goes on linguistic diversions in the quest to land on the nearest punchline as quickly as possible, no matter how disconnected to his thread. "I could never go to jail," he says, "I never finish a sentence."

His stuttering manner gives rise to even more gags as he starts talking about one thing, switching mid-sentence to something else. Talking about drugs, he asks whether we should "legalise can- can- can- cannibalism. What about cannibalism?" and so on to the next topic. Who needs clever segueways?

It's mostly quite unsophisticated, formulaic puns, although there are a couple of stand-out sections when he really hits the funnybone with more inventive gags. But if nothing else, Clarke's sheer buzzing energy makes him an effective crowdpleaser.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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