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Scott Agnew: Pride (In The Name of Love)

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

Irving Welsh couldn’t have written a bleaker final act to Scott Agnew’s Edinburgh show – but at least the Trainspotting author would have added a mordant wit that’s sadly lacking in what is, after all, billed as a comedy offering.

The depressing tale, involving a destructively intense relationship with a heroin addict, is clearly a difficult one for the former Scottish Comedian Of The Year to tell ­­– but he's in need of a writer or director to bring something other than darkness to the cathartic experience.

It’s a downbeat end to an hour of storytelling that never really took off. Agnew, a 6ft 5in Glaswegian, is a striking physical presence, appeared to lack confidence in his own material, even though the subjects he drew upon promised much.

The most successful yarns involved his time as a seedy tabloid reporter, gatecrashing funerals and doing the ‘death knocks’ at the homes of grieving relatives. But the humour comes from the situations, not necessarily his telling of them, which tend to be burdened with avoidable detail… do we really need to know the downstairs layout of one home he visited?

Another yarn about him shagging a Terence Trent D’Arby lookalike in a Gorbals tower block has a genuinely funny payoff, although again the build-up is a little convoluted. Even given the open goal of meeting a fetishist on Gaydar whose had to dress and act like a dog, Agnew shoots wide, not fully drawing out the ridiculousness of the extreme situation.

A straightforward observational routine about gag hags preventing nightclub pick-ups is similarly promising, but deteriorates into a series of jibes about fat lasses, that were largely predictable and sometimes unpleasant – suggesting, for example, that someone is too ugly to rape.

Agnew, a solid act in shorter doses, clearly has fascinating episodes to draw upon, but he’s not doing them – or himself – any favours with this lacklustre display.

Review date: 20 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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