Ivo Graham: Organised Fun | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Ivo Graham: Organised Fun

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

When he appeared on Taskmaster this year, Ivo Graham performed so poorly that fellow contestant Jenny Eclair asked him: ‘Can you get money back from Eton?’

Perhaps in an attempt to overcome that humiliation, perhaps in an attempt to pander to fans of the Channel 4 programme now buying tickets to his show, or perhaps because his life now includes appearing in so many celebrity versions of TV game shows, but Graham has abandoned his usual superior self-deprecating stand-up of posh awkwardness to host some interactive fun. And the results aren’t great.

It’s hard to care about an admin-heavy game of audience Top Trumps that takes up so much space in this show comparing who lives furthest away from the venue or orders the most Amazon packages in. There’s a mini-pub quiz on the questions he fluffed on The Weakest Link and a game that involves bouncing balls into plastic trays.

In the limited bit of stand-up he delivers up top, Graham describes how all his friends tire of the titular organised fun he inflicts on them on holiday or at social events. But he didn’t take the hint and is now inflicts on us. One of these was a home version of The Traitors, but it comes with a lengthy explanation of the show redundant to those who watched it, inconsequential for those who didn’t

Many other comics are better at this sort of thing, usually tongue in cheek, whether gently like Alex Horne (obviously) or ridiculously like Phil Ellis. Graham does it kinda fine. Similarly, his audience interactions start strong, but he gets bogged down in speaking too much about the academic philosophy book a front-row punter brought in, ploughing on long after the premise had been exhausted. With this and the games, it feels like filler in lieu of material Graham never got around to.  He has a theatrical monologue at the festival, too, perhaps that's what he wrote instead.

There are a few of his trademark exquisitely structured jokes in Organised Fun, but too few, and an unfortunate reminder the stand-up he is at his best, rather than the game-show host he is at his most mediocre.

Last year, Graham’s four-year-old daughter said of his job: ‘It’s just talking and it’s boring.’ This year she’d be happier – and Graham himself self says he’s having the most fun he’s ever had at the Fringe. Fans of his usual finely-engineered comedy may not agree.

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Review date: 20 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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