Alex Hylton: Everybody's Different And I'm The Same | Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney
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Alex Hylton: Everybody's Different And I'm The Same

Note: This review is from 2018

Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney

In my capacity as time-keeping referee I herewith brandish a yellow card to Alex Hylton for insufficient stage time. Thirty-five minutes maketh not a comedy show, especially if people are paying for 45 minutes. With that grumblette out the way, I can say that Hylton is another young debutant this year who has plenty of promise.

I say this mainly in terms of technique – Hylton has internalised the foundational tools of comic timing and delivery, and if you didn’t know better you would assume he was far older than his 22 years. 

In terms of what he has to say, it is a thoughtful set, examining his sense of identity as a young man, his nagging sense of inadequacy, how it’s taken a good relationship for his to have the confidence to be himself. 

There’s a laddish feel to the show too, thanks to some of Hylton’s material on his alpha ex-housemate and the banter between them. But the overriding sense is of a (self-described) beta male in a laddish world. 

Several times he refers to the expectations of manhood, how much they weigh on him, and perhaps unwittingly makes a connection to the pressure in the school playground to ‘join the club’, ie lose his virginity. Probably the best joke of his set comes at the end of a rather sweet routine about being a Blink 182-loving emo kid who goes on a date with a school friend, and how the old-fashioned morals drummed into him by his mum get misinterpreted in his teenage brain.

As any good young comic does now, there is a checking of his privilege and Hylton has some good material on class, notably the difference between middle-class poor and working-class poor. 

His attempts at edgier material are so-so – a joke about the Rotherham sex grooming scandal doesn’t fall flat because it’s offensive, it’s because it’s not an especially good joke. And a joke relating to something an overweight friend of his says about ‘thin privilege’ also doesn’t fly, this time because the punchline is a bit obtuse, and it also comes across as quite mean-spirited even though she isn’t the butt of the joke. 

Hylton obviously doesn’t want to stick to just safe subjects, which is a perfectly good impulse as a comic, but it’s often the way that these ‘signalling’ kind of jokes aren’t as good as others, as they haven’t made it in on merit. 

He includes some material on his voice, which sounds like a 55-year-old lorry driver, he says, and almost apologises for it. His extraordinary timbre is less of an issue, however, than the speed he talks, which is far more likely to put an audience on edge as it suggests nerves on his part.

So a decent debut from Hylton, an undoubted talent. A solid three stars before you take that yellow card into account …

Review date: 10 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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