Big Brothers’ satellite shows have provided solid launching pads for the careers of Britain’s more flamboyant comedians. Russells Kane and Brand both propelled themselves into the mainstream through the show and while many may have presumed the show long dead it is still going and still giving young comics a chance.
It’s less prominent now now, for sure, and this is perhaps fitting for Stephen Bailey as he brings his first solo hour of stand-up to Edinburgh. He immediately comes across as Alan Carr lite, a slightly impish, bawdy performer but perhaps lacking the killer instinct of the camp comedy behemoth.
Bailey builds the set around anecdotes about his faltering love life, awkward dates and messy break ups. Always engaging and witty, the punch line fails to land more often than not. It’s a show to occasionally titter at rather than belly laugh at but that’s not to say that there aren’t moments to suggest a strong career ahead.
He’s at his very best when he breaks away from his set to riff with the audience or expertly take down hecklers. His fantastic natural wit and charisma bring you on side, and with a bit of honing and craft, he could well be one to watch for the future.
Words: Julian Harvard
Stephen Bailey: Neon Heart, Gilded Balloon, Jul 30 – Aug 24 (not 11), 16:15