Sunil Patel: Faster Horses | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Sunil Patel: Faster Horses

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

If you’re going to be stuck in a room for an hour with a man talking about cryptocurrency and all the business ideas he’s had, this is the only way to do it.

For Sunil Patel is the polar opposite of the coke-fuelled egotistic who might normally corner you with such topics, being one of the mildest-mannered men in comedy.

He is, however, obsessed with crypto, which led him to making a documentary in El Salvador – a dangerous hotspot for which he was not prepared. He even set up his own currency, which could have landed him in deep legal trouble, as he amusingly describes.

These are just a couple of things he’s done to earn a buck in a very chequered employment history comprising around 40 jobs – many of them utterly bizarre. Driving around the country to pick up an impulsive eBayer’s massive purchases, for example. 

Not all the roles were comedy gold, and his comprehensive listing of them is a sluggish segment. But some of them generate excellent stories, such as the time he was an internet prankster’s accomplice and their attempts to exploit the good nature of some Cambridge academics ended in hilarious, awkward ignominy.

His earliest proper job was reluctantly running a pub – very similar to what happened to Romesh Ranganathan, who made a sitcom out of the experience. Patel was part of a group of 20-year-olds entrusted to run the boozer, but things went sour when one of them developed a drug addiction. What happened next is so bizarre it falls firmly in the ‘you couldn’t make it up’ category as Patel’s easy-going nature was exploited to a shocking degree.

Because of his history of short-lived jobs, Patel was not too concerned when Covid took away his comedy work, since he was certain he’d find something else – even though the description of his life during lockdown is so bleak. This is when he started generating offbeat ideas for possible new businesses, which he presents between his longer stories like he’s on a zero-budget Dragon’s Den.

It breaks up the longer anecdotes, many of which end anticlimactically, which befits Patel’s laid-back, unflashy, understated demeanour – thought it would have been to the benefit of the show had they had more spectacular climaxes. But you also know he’s being truthful with the stories that are funny enough to stand on their unvarnished merits and told with a droll, self-deprecating wit.

• Sunil Patel: Faster Horses is on at Monkey Barrel Comedy Club at 1.55pm

Review date: 25 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

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