Jacob Hawley: Bump | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Jacob Hawley: Bump

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Jacob Hawley finds himself in a position that most youngish men go through and that many comedians have articulated before. As his twenties turn into his thirties, he starts to wonder if he’s ready to be a grown-up – a question that becomes especially pertinent when his girlfriend of just a few weeks becomes pregnant.

Not only does the stand-up find himself caught between recklessness and responsibility, but other certainties fade away too. Hawley came to prominence as a working-class comic, but after finding some success on the circuit, is that true any more? He also finds himself drifting, ever so slightly, to the political right. We’re far from Farage territory but he acknowledges that his youthful socialist ideals aren’t quite so easy to cling to now he has stuff…

This mini-crisis of identity is an effective thread to make several conversational club routines string together, though it’s not really much more profound than that. The best are ‘woe-is-me’ stories about his experiences  attracting the wrong sort of fans after appearing on The Russell Howard Hour, or the insulting offer to perform midway through a drive-in screening of Grease during lockdown.

Speaking of Covid, material about anti-vaxxers seems both old and old hat, based on the oft-made observation that many of those most vociferously protesting putting unknown substances into their system are much less discriminating when it comes to their drugs. And his take on becoming middle-class isn’t as strong as other comics’, although the central olive-oil-related image is certainly memorable.

Hawley’s a genial guide through his third-life crises, and an observant commentator on his lot. But as the show describes how he’s losing much of the characteristics that made him so exciting as a breakthrough act, there’s a feeling he’s joining a much larger constituency of comedians of similar experiences and outlooks, in which it’s harder to stand out.

• Jacob Hawley: Bump is on at  Monkey Barrel @ The Hive at 6.35pm

Review date: 4 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Monkey Barrel Comedy (The Hive)

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