Every tricky moment is potential material for standups, so when Larry Dean found himself in a cafe with two murderers, it was no doubt filed in the mental ‘new show’ folder pretty sharpish. And quite right too: that story is a corker, and surely unique in the comedy pages.
The thoroughly agreeable Glaswegian has a mixed bag of topics to wade into this year, including a wary foray into politics, but if there’s a through-line it’s that we should all be a bit more understanding of each other’s views and actions – whether it’s his mother voting Brexit or an old mate throwing one tragic punch.
He’s even relatively tolerant of some homophobes, and is the go-to guy for pals trying to change people’s minds. As Dean memorably puts it, he’s a good “starter gay”, talking football before embarking on the gay-celeb gossip. Tolerance of the intolerant is not a view you often hear on these stages either.
All of this is expressed with great gags and grins, and Fandan is flawless early on, but becomes just a bit too pleased with itself. Perhaps it’s just a response to this buzzy Saturday evening crowd, but there is a sense that Dean is enjoying his material more than some of us. Is he really still finding his own jokes so funny? He particularly enjoys a running gag in which he portrays a London Observational Comedian, but even he admits that half the crowd don’t.
Still, if you’re laughing-not-crying this far into the Fringe, something must be going right.