Ron White: Live In Scotchland | Review by Steve Bennett
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Ron White: Live In Scotchland

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

Ron White is a screw-up: an insensitive selfish prick, a drunkard and a misogynist… and that’s on the evidence of his own words. Luckily he also has a louche silver-fox allure and some good jokes.

That combination has helped the former Blue Collar comic sell more than 10 million albums and DVDs, made him one of the top-grossing tour comics in the States, and landed him a Vegas residency. So playing a 200-seat lecture theatre in Edinburgh is slumming it, even though there are some vocal fans in the audience.

We can only assume his love of Scotch and golf has brought him to Scotland. Indeed, he puts a decanter of whisky on a stool, which reinforces the idea these could be the alcohol-seeped opinions of a late-night barfly… but a classier one, not your average drunk.

You’re guaranteed not to like some of those viewpoints. He sets out his stall immediately, with a routine about tacos so exotic and rare they contain ‘baby duck pussy lips’, a section the good animal-lovers at Peta probably won’t be too happy with. Talking of the simplistically crude, material about anal bleaching, vaginal rejuvenation or midget porn never goes beyond the immediate impulse.

The gnarled 59-year-old delivers with a Texan drawl and the assured rhythms of a man who’s been doing this for decades, lending false authority to opinions designed purely to provoke, such as his advocacy of a bit of drunk-driving – the alcohol limits dismissed as a ‘federal scam’ to make money. Likewise he sticks up for Tiger Wood for being restrained given the number of extra-marital affairs he COULD have had.

With his often unreconstructed views, wealth and ‘says what he’s thinking’ approach, you might consider White the Donald Trump of stand-up – though he has a line embracing immigration, so there’s that preconception out of the window. And he went to a gay wedding, or so he teases us into believing in one of his finest rug-pulls.

In a brief foray into politics, he has an hilarious analogy for making a reluctant choice between the two underwhelming main candidates in the US election. He is genuinely running for President (on a legalise marijuana ticket), one of the scores of so-called write-in candidates whom voters can back just by writing his name on their ballot – and it counts.

One of his tongue-in-cheek policies, inspired by Trump’s Mexican wall, is a giant net to keep out the Canadian geese, one of several more whimsical ideas in this hour of ‘greatest hits’ of the past few years.

And for all his swagger, it’s often these quirkier images that work best. He paints a delightful picture of his mother and mother-in-law toddling down the street together or describing a French bulldog as ‘a pug that was raped by a fruit bat’. That said he’s got a great, and brutal, Bill Cosby joke, harshly exposing the older comic’s once-avuncular image against the offences he’s accused of.

He has got charm, which gives him licence to go into the grubbier areas he tackles. But he also shows he can be better than that, which makes you wonder why he doesn’t always. Apart from the fact his formula is phenomenally successful, of course.

Review date: 27 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Assembly George Square

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