Star rating: ****
The Stand 3&4
28 York Place
Daily 19:40 (60 minutes) £12 Information and booking
7th to 20th August 2015
Review date: Saturday 8th August 2015
Returning to Edinburgh for his second run at The Fringe, New Yorker, Michael Che was back to regale audiences about race, sex, politics and general musings on everyday life. Known for being a writer on the popular comedy show Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, expectations were high for this sold out show.
This was a terrific, very funny and varied show covering many subjects, but I have to say the one topic he seemed more than a little pre-occupied with was that of race, though unfortunately he didn’t particular cover the topic with any great depth or insight, which considering the race related murders going on in America these days seemed to me an opportunity missed. He opened with a joke relating to the N word and sport which went down quite well in its quirkiness. He did move on from that, but much later in the show returned to the word and a routine about who can and can’t use the N word … judging the so-called ‘Black rule’ relating to this word.
Hearing the word from some people it washes over him as easily as downing a cold beer on a hot day, yet hearing the word uttered from the mouth of another demographic of society he takes it as an almighty slight and wants to fight them. This is the great irony surrounding the word. If it still has the power to personally and deeply offend someone, it begs the questions as to why on earth such a person would think it’s OK to use the word as a regular word in their everyday vocabulary? It’s confusing to me and certainly must be to many White people to.
On the subject of race he referred to the puzzling notion that White women have taken over Brooklyn, the once predominantly Black neighbourhood. Without violence. They just took Brooklyn! Really? He didn’t explain how or why that happened to put it into any context for a largely British audience.
Referring to the two white Scottish women in the front row who thought they were part of the show and couldn’t keep quiet for more than 10 minutes he also considered them powerful, yet clearly also found them to be, much like the rest of the audience, more than a little distracting and irritating. This was a shame as they were clearly big fans of his. Nonetheless he handled them and “the boyfriend” very well and professionally. In less capable hands this could have got nasty and totally ruined the show.
Michael was actually a very likeable, quick witted, funny guy who had a lot to say about many things. Typical Michael! He displayed a relaxed, laid back stage persona that belied a razor sharp wit and deep well of funny jokes to draw upon. I liked the way he was comfortable with engaging in banter with the audience, making them feel a part of the show – when he wanted it!
His material on gay marriage was especially amusing and original, highlighting that gay liberation had it downsides even for gay people.
For me, there was too much emphasis on smutty sexual content, especially directed towards the 16 year old lad out for the night with his Father. Whilst he was probably making the point that this was not a show for a 16 year old he over egged the pudding so to speak. How about showing some respect to the father:son relationship? It came across as cheap, tawdry and tacky and demeaned a talented comedian who had demonstrated that he was far better than this.
Should have gone to spec savers
He may want to go to the opticians whilst here for he constantly bemoaned the fact there were no Black people in the audience, yet me and another Black colleague were 3rd row, centre, so how he didn’t spot us I do not know.
Furthermore, that’s a question he’s better of directing at his promoter’s as to why his show(s) didn’t attract more Black attendees. That’s something that bemuses me to an extent as well, but I see it in keeping with I’m guessing is, the relative lack of Black attendees at mainstream British festivals, be they comedy, music or any other festival.
Michael over ran by 20 minutes. Not intentionally as he was trying to close the show on a note of harmony by offering the three front row ‘contributors’ a complimentary show to see them off gently into the Edinburgh night. However this went on for too long meaning he finished 20 minutes late at 9pm. There was no chance of the following Stephen K Amos show starting on time at 9:10pm.
This is a big no, no at The Fringe as venue’s are working to tight turnaround’s as are audience’s who will often have another show to get to. It’s just disrespectful. The following act may also have other shows to do or attend themselves, so the knock in effect can be considerable.
Notwithstanding this faux pas, Michael Che is a top quality act, who delivered an excellent show (not quite ****** in my view) full of jokes of the highest order that had the room laughing away throughout the show. I would thoroughly recommend him. Just don’t bring the children!
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
- Edinburgh Fringe reviews 2015
- Top 10 Shows and restaurants – Edinburgh Fringe 2014
- Dave Chappelle – Final night at The Apollo, London – review – 18th July 2015
- Sex Obsessed American Comedians cause outrage in London – review – 16th June 2015
- Black Lives Matter Fundraising Comedy Show – review – 12th June 2015