Sam Morrison: Sugar Daddy | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Sam Morrison: Sugar Daddy

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Sam Morrison gives us plenty of permission to laugh along with his grief. Comedy is part of his process of dealing with the death of his partner last year, while paying tribute to the love they shared.

‘Grief is not linear’, he notes – and neither is this show, flipping between tender memories of Jonathan, accounts of the steps the comic has been taking to come to terms with his loss, and the tale of a mugging that frames the hour, demonstrating how the anguish has affected in the strangest ways. Interwoven with this is material about his recent diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, tied into the main strand with a lovely punchline.

Other than this, the structure of Sugar Daddy is messy, although it speaks to the authenticity of a story which isn’t neat. Bitingly funny stand-up sections, often emphasising his beta-male status as an anxious Jew, run alongside more poignant monologuing – two separate emotional tracks that only rarely mesh together, but it works.

However, Morrison’s constant interruptions commenting on the energy of the room and how we are not laughing in the way he expects is disruptive. If anything, being called out in this way will only make audiences more self-conscious.

The Florida-born, New York-based stand-up and self-identifying ‘twink’ met Jonathan during something called Bear Week – a party-fuelled gathering rather than a Discovery Channel programming strand – four years ago. Love blossomed quickly, and the fondest of the touching memories he shares are of spending lockdown together in a remote house. But he can also recall the rows, having no truck with the maxim not to speak ill of the dead.

Morrison offers thoughtful contemplation on responses to grief. Well-meaning platitudes fall on deaf ears. Does ‘everything happen for a reason?’ really salve an aching heart? However, he finds some benefit in attending a support group for grieving partners – in providing him material, if not succour.

He jokes that by mining his tragedy he’s not doing super-relatable Blue Collar Comedy Tour type material – but most people who hear his story will surely conjure up memories of friends and family they have lost too, adding an extra layer of poignancy.

Morrison performs with disarming candour and, when required, a self-deprecating wit. With a little more focus, Sugar Daddy could be as consistently powerful and funny as its hardest-hitting segments.

• Sam Morrison: Sugar Daddy is on at Gilded Balloon Teviot at 6.20pm

Review date: 26 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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