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Alan Sharp: Hate It With Me

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

The Free Fringe is a wonderful thing, but sometimes you’d wish they’d make at least a slight nod to professionalism. Alan Sharp performed his entire hour with a PowerPoint slide from previous show projected on to his face (and, the screen behind him, obviously). And not even full screen mode, either – in edit, with icons all around.

This 47-year-old Gloucester comic takes a similarly lax attitude to his personal presentation – with unkempt hair, T-shirt and ill-fitting trousers, he looks like he’s just shuffled in from the bar. Nor does he inject much energy into his performance to dispel that image.

If, after that visual impression, you were still expecting something highbrow, Sharp admits he’s happy to go for the lowest common denominator in a show based simply around of things he hates.

So it unfolds in unoriginal fashion with gratuitous references to the likes of Josef Fritzl and Justin Bieber, rural inbreeding and such awfully tired lines as ‘Hungarians have lots of facial hair – and that’s just the women!’

This last joke comes in the section that takes the lion’s share of the show, in which Sharp vows to offend the whole world. In essence, this is a country-by-country Atlas of bad hack comedy – a Hacklas if you will. Australia has animals that’ll kill you, India is all about call centres, Chinese people have small penises, the French are arrogant… you know the drill. To call it half-arsed would be to greatly overstate the about of arsedness present in this stereotype-by-numbers that sees Norway as ‘cute and inoffensive’, not the nation that just suffered a brutal mass murder.

Amid all the weak nonsense, Sharp manages to come up with just enough good lines to keep you interested – which suggests he should probably be better than this – and he has enough confidence as a speaker throughout to hold the room, despite such largely uninteresting material.

His best is probably a routine about his vasectomy. Medical procedures on the privates might be a comedy staple, but Sharp here shows an appealing touch of aggravation that seems genuine rather than lazy and second-hand. But he needs a lot more like this to get even close to living up to his surname.

Review date: 11 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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