Jim Jefferies? Old news. Jason Byrne? Yawn. Frank Skinner? Does he even turn up to work any more?
There’s a new king of the Fringe and his name is Kevin Bridges. Oh, and he’s only 23 years old. Move over old-timer, the young blood will be running the show from here on out.
After building a good level of buzz at last year’s festival, and a few appearances on TV, Bridges arrives at the Fringe with high expectations to live up to. It seems that everyone from taxi drivers to art students are captivated by this young lad from Clydebank, who’s gone from zero to selling out venues in the space of a couple of years.
So is the hype justified? In a word: yes. Bridges makes stand-up look ridiculously simple, when we all know it isn’t easy in the slightest. Appearing on stage in his black suit he seems totally unassuming, but when he starts to banter with the audience it’s obvious that he really is something special. Not since Russell Howard have I seen someone so relaxed on stage, so clearly in love with what they do, and so quick to spin a brief chat into comedy gold.
Much of his material is quite straightforward comic fayre – Bridges’ teenage years, his old job at TK Maxx, his relationship with his dad – but he manages to make ordinary subject matter seem entirely fresh and original. The lively crowd hang on his every word and digression – apparently so much so that one lady had an accident at a recent gig because she didn’t want to leave to go to the loo. It’s easy to see why – it would seem a crime to leave and miss a moment, so I’d suggest a trip to the toilet before the show.
As a country, we often don’t celebrate our homegrown talent enough, but we ought to. There’s a new name to add to the list of great Scottish comics: Chic Murray, Billy Connelly, Frankie Boyle and now Kevin Bridges. See him now or in ten years’ time you’ll be wishing you had.
Assembly @ George St, 5-30 Aug (not 8, 16), 8.55pm