Having thoroughly, and threateningly, warned reviewers not to call him misanthropic, Andrew Lawrence ensures that the word is stuck front and centre in my mind as I watch him perform his latest show, Too Ugly for Television.
So how to describe the angry young man of the stand-up world? Cynical, certainly. Sarcastic? So he seems. Malevolent? Most definitely. Self-hating?
That’s harder to say.
Indeed, one of the smartest things about Lawrence’s comedy is that he leads you to believe he loathes himself as much, if not more than, the various bullying chavs, useless comedy promoters and stupid girlfriends that populate his world. Cracks at his own expense bookend the set, and serve to ease the audience in and out of his vitriolic ranting.
It was the ranting that was, for me at least, the problem. Many of these speeches, delivered in different accents though they may be, are recited in a relentless monotone that grates on the ear. Lawrence’s audience, however, seemed to relish each new high-pitched whine, greeting the punchlines with cheers and applause. For me, the laughs, when they finally came, weren’t quite enough to justify the discomfort of listening without a pay-off for an extended period of time. Given the audience reaction, however, I seemed to be alone in this opinion.
Fans of cranky, well-constructed comedy with a biting satirical edge will enjoy this show. Those who find whining a bit tiresome will not.
Pleasance Courtyard, 4-29 Aug (not 16), 9.20pm