Erich McElroy's (US) Electile Dysfunction | Review by Steve Bennett
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Erich McElroy's (US) Electile Dysfunction

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

The nuttiest Presidential campaign in US history has been keeping the satirists busy trying to keep up with Donald Trump’s constant stream of brain farts, and crack jokes about what is already clearly preposterous.

Erich McElroy, an American who’s lived in the UK for 16 years, has the same problem. Plus the fact that the internet puts the sharpest American comedians and commentators on to every desktop, against whom it is impossible for him to compete.

So there’s little new in the opinions he sets out in (US) Electile Dysfunction, which charts a mainstream view of the campaign, balanced in the way it pokes fun at the three biggest personalities – Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – in equal measure.

He talks of how Trump uses the dog-whistle of suggesting the worst without out-and-out saying it and how his relentless pushing of the same idea, such as ‘crooked Hillary’ inevitably sticks. Sanders is portrayed as an irascible leftie, and the unlikeable Clinton as no one’s first choice, a dry political automaton reluctantly seen as the lesser evil.

The show is more of a monologue of entertainingly presented information than a stand-up set of punchy jokes, although there are few lines that shine and a few ideas that stick. McElroy doesn’t just talk about the current election, either, offering some background for viewers too young to remember vice-presidential hopeful Dan Quayle misspelling ‘potato’ in a children’s spelling bee, or the first Gulf War. Two defining moments in America’s recent history, if not exactly of equal importance, which again the over-40s will already be familiar with.

Despite what you might expect, McElroy is not particularly topical, not even referring to Trump’s assertion a couple of days before the show that Barack Obama was one of the founders of Islamic State… not ‘creating the vacuum in which they could germinate’ but an actual founder. Maybe he assumes that in the bubble of the Edinburgh Fringe, many of his audience will miss real-world news for the month.

The very latest developments notwithstanding, (US) Electile Dysfunction is a reasonable primer to what’s going on, an astute and fair-minded analysis of a situation beyond irony, presented by an eloquent communicator staking a claim to be called on for the next talking-heads show about American politics. But for the real jokes, tune into Fox News.

Review date: 18 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Bar 50

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