Richard Stott: Dear Lord... What A Sad Little Life | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Richard Stott: Dear Lord... What A Sad Little Life

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

For the uninitiated, the title of Richard Stott’s fourth Edinburgh show comes from a sore loser on Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me, lashing out at the competitor who beat him.

Reacting badly to losing a popularity contest? Welcome to my Fringe experience, Stott jokes. But it’s a bit too close to the bone as this show has an underlying bitterness, making it an uncomfortable watch that’s hard to enjoy. 

Indeed a few people walk out over the hour, which actually proves a relief as Stott serves up a few puns after their departure to lighten the mood. But we’re soon back to his grudges.

Stott has got a chip on his shoulder about not having the privilege of being an Oxbridge comedian and about past reviews, several of which he reads to us. Specifically, he’s angry at those critics who say he should now move on from talking about his disability. He was born with a rare muscle condition called Poland Syndrome, which, as he recaps, involved major surgery on his left hand, resulting in having toes transplanted there.

Move on he does, as he talks about getting into his mid-30s, feeling too old for nightclubs and starting to get a taste for the finer things in life. He’s still in a house-share mind – another cause of significant resentment – living among passive-aggressive housemates. The sense of not fitting in is exacerbated by his feelings of bring posh for the North of England and too common for the South – as if the nation was so strictly divided. It’s a very reductive viewpoint.

An enjoyable routine about the terrible B&B in his hometown is let down by a weak, clichéd payoff. Similarly, he talks about torturing the avatars on The Sims in a way comedians have been doing ever since the game was released. His storytelling is often jumbled too: I was left uncertain whether his dad really had dementia or not, which seems a major lack of clarity.

By the end, he brings us full circle, explaining why he’ll never stop talking about his disability and giving some justification as to why he feels so resentful. But he still takes it out on the audience, without the gags to excuse it.

Before the Fringe, Stott wrote about using this show as a way of going back to basics, experimenting more to find his comic voice after finding some early success with material that didn’t feel true to him. He may need to remain at the drawing board for a little while yet.

Review date: 28 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Just the Tonic at Cabaret Voltaire

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