12pm might seem a bit early for a comedy show by Fringe standards, however, it’s worth getting an early night if it means you’ll make it to see Fern Brady at The Stand this month.
Nothing is left untouched by Brady’s dry wit, from the old folks in the audience to Belfast taxi drivers and her height impaired boyfriend. She might have a bit of reputation for being cold or harsh in her comedy, but in actual fact, Brady has the audience on side through the whole hour: the darker the jokes get, the more enthralled we are by her wicked charm. Her jokes are sharp and incisive and never miss the point. While Suffer, Fools! isn’t a show framed around politics or other such ‘big themes’, there’s moments when, out of nowhere, a casual build up ends in a sucker punch hit, nailing some brutally insightful thoughts on sexism effortlessly. That Belfast taxi driver doesn’t fare too well on this note.
Self-deprecating and droll, she turns that sharp wit on herself as much as others, analysing her inaptitude at her former stripping job with glee and mercilessly morphing her own anxieties into gags. However, a vicious rip into the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, complete with a knowing smirk from Brady, marks one of the most fantastic moments.
The final joke is a doozy and anyone with a touch of narcissism about them will completely relate to the fantasy. If, like me, you were Catholic school educated, it might also bring back some traumatic memories of hymns and guilt but don’t worry – it’s worth it.
Words: Chiara Margiotta
Fern Brady: Suffer, Fools!, The Stand, Aug 10-27 (not 14, 15), 12.05pm