Simon Evans: Have We Met? | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Simon Evans: Have We Met?

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Simon Evans is the best comedian regularly appearing on GB News – a dubious honour perhaps akin to being named Britain’s best-dressed paedophile. 

But since he’s joined that side in the culture wars, it’s given his stand-up a different context – punchlines that once played with the ambiguity of whether the joke was on the target of his intolerance or just him being a pompous curmudgeon now have the balance tipped towards punching down. 

When he refers to the ‘tattooed scum’ he sees on the streets of Brighton, it’s just nasty – though that harsh language is by far the most significant slip from his usual erudite, patrician demeanour. That said, deliberately calling Nicola Sturgeon ‘he’ is also a needlessly cheap joke that comes with all sorts of baggage about misgendering, even if the intent was childish.

Have We Met? is set up as an exploration of the comic’s failing memory in his mid-50s – though he’s always seemed a decade or two older than his years. He’s got the graphs to prove that his short-term recall is shot to bits, and he admits an increasing struggle to put names to face.

His long-term memory seems in fine fettle, mind, as there’s some old material in this advertised ‘brand new hour’, including the cornerstone routine about forgetting what he went upstairs for, which he rolls out as if it were an epic assault on Everest, fraught with setbacks. Even though he’s been doing it for years, it is relevant to the topic supposedly in hand – unlike much else in this piecemeal hour, which can’t seem to settle on a consistent thread.

We have a sizeable recap of the story that he told in his last, far superior, show in which a DNA test threw up surprising things about his heritage, while much of the rest of the hour is drawn from once-topical jokes he told on Radio 4’s News Quiz about the likes of Liz Truss killing the Queen by visiting her at Balmoral. Many are decent gags but using so many lends a feeling this is an hour of reheated leftovers, rather than something with purpose. 

In fact, it seems like he’s wandered into the Assembly’s Spiegletent and forgotten what he came in here for.

Review date: 10 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Assembly Rooms

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