Simon Brodkin - Everyone But Himself

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

 Already having created a bit of a buzz with an endorsement by Harry Hill and management backing by comedy big guns Avalon, Brodkin unsurprisingly felt he was ready for a full run in Edinburgh. Despite having only been doing comedy for a couple of years he has four strong characters to showcase.

The scally Lee Nelson and, to a lesser degree, the up-his-arse, middle-class traveller Hugo Victor-Grant are personas already well documented on the stand up circuit so it's a little disappointing that Brodkin has decided to include them. Nevertheless they are both well observed and written - Nelson with his slicked-forward hair and new baby, 'she had a home delivery, we got a free garlic bread' and Victor-Grant with his armful of charity wristbands and skewed philosophy, 'Che Guevara, the man that gave us the greatest T-shirt design.'

The highlight of the quartet is Chris Young, the character he opens with; a deadpan holiday rep with less fizz than lemonade with the top left off all night. Delightfully non PC in his advice to the women of the party regarding the voracious local men 'your gift pack includes pepper spray and, if that doesn't work, the morning=after pill.'

Most inventively, to transmogrify between these characters instead of employing a black out and quick change manoeuvre he transforms openly in front of the audience whileadopting a smug, self-satisfied 'Simon Brodkin' alter-ego. His mock serious tone is underpinned by ridiculousness; he worries us by taking off his knickers each time he changes only to reveal another pair underneath. Simultaneously he talks to us directly about the comedy process; a cod comedy history is recounted where humour was invented in 1820 by a Cornish man also in his underpants.

More and more unafraid to push the boundaries set down by the PC lobby it's not uncommon for comedians to make good natured jokes about race but not since the Seventies has a white comic been seen smearing on the brown face paint to play an Asian man and it's with a laugh of disbelief the audience witnesses Brodkin 'browning up' for his final creation. Luckily Brodkin's last character is an affectionate micky take; Dr Omprakesh is well meaning in his work but distinctly unsubtle in his breaking of bad news ­ "shall I tell you about my Youth In Asia?" (just say it fast).

Marissa Burgess

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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