Nick Doody: The Difficult Twelfth Album | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Nick Doody: The Difficult Twelfth Album

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

When a middle-aged white male comic starts talking passionately about what you can and can’t say on stage these days, it rarely turns out well. 

But Nick Doody is remarkably level-headed about so-called cancel culture, concluding that since every joke receives instant audience feedback: ‘We should know where the line is as comedians.’ He argues that the rule should be that if a joke upsets any demographic, it should be dropped. But then adds a mischievous: ‘That said…’

What follows is a perfectly logical set of guidelines that manages to walk that tightrope skilfully, taking pops at the virtue-signallers and professionally offended without ever feeling his next gig will be shouting in the street on a pallet, opening for Graham Linehan.

Having established that, a gag about non-binary people using the pronoun ‘they’ makes the room nervous, but it turns out all right in the end. Doody likes playing the tension and sense of naughtiness but ultimately just wants to write good jokes that will make a room laugh. And then write excellent taglines to top it – a considerable strength is his ability to squeeze that extra laugh out of a premise.

He performs with emphasis, urgency and energy. Though having recently seen Bruce Springsteen live, he can’t help but feel inferior to The Boss’s perfect control of a stadium crowd, spinning the mood from powerhouse rock to intimate ballad in a moment. However, he has a bit of a go in his insalubrious, hard-to-find Edinburgh venue.

Doody’s comedy is often based on his bugbears, whether it’s Liz Truss, his 81-year-old mother-in-law’s inability to tell a story or even recognise the fascinating episodes in her life, or people who wore masks that didn’t cover their noses. Two years on, and that last one still grates.

A few of these topics – also including Ryanair penny-pinching and considering what if emojis literally represented what the sender was doing – have been well-covered by comics before, but Doody always adds a twist, a tag, or a hard sell in his performance to elevate it.

With relatively straight-up stand-up that’s efficient and elegantly structured, Doody mixes the dark and the silly, such as trying to get ‘I’ll suck cock for diesel’ to take off as a catchphrase. Twelve Fringe shows in, and he’s a man who knows what he’s doing, and is doing it well. Simple as.

Review date: 21 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Liquid Room Annexe & Warehouse

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