Has Tommy Teirnan always been like this? Has he secretly seethed, raged, yearned to break free from the shackles of average celebrity and much loved material, that’s all too often appropriated at face value?
Surely he has. There’s no other explanation for Alive in Edinburgh. He’s not just alive, he feels reborn. As an outsider who gained a place amongst the mainstream comedy set, Tiernan rips into his huge crowd, barely using the mic, blasting his thoughts outwards, more preacher than comic.
Tiernan is improvised this year. Almost fully. But there’s no whimsy in him, no surreal Noble-esque flights of fancy. Mainly he’s just angry, whilst still managing to be profound.
Alive in Edinburgh is a performer scraping off the barnacles from his own audience. They’re getting something better, whether they like it or not. Many don’t.
It’s not constantly funny, but it is constantly mesmerising. Thomas, take a bow.
Tommy Tiernan: Alive in Edinburgh, Gilded Balloon, 24, 26, 28, 30 August, 7.30pm