- The 3rd Annual Black Comedy Showcase
- Star rating: ***
- Corner of Cowgate and Niddry Street, Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Review date: 10th August 2019
The 3rd Annual Black Comedy Showcase is part of PBH’s Free Comedy Fringe 2019 and is on at 13.30pm August 3rd – 25th 2019 at Bannerman’s. Free Entry. Pay what you can.
This grandly titled show sounds like a one off show but actually is running daily during the Fringe for the 3rd consecutive year. The aim of the gig, as the blurb says is to showcase”3 top comics and 1 token white.”
The show I attended was entertaining but very much a mixed bag.
Host and show organiser Che Burnley, from Oldham (of course!) was extremely entertaining with his mix of old school Northern humour and running “ironic” joke about giving people a 12 hour pass from being racist. His difficult relationship with his father was used as a great source of comedic material especially the Windrush and boxing stories.
Londoner Travis Jay was on song with his jokes re parenthood, raising his young boy to be a man and to be able to stick up for himself. Arguably he was perhaps taking his love of boxing, there’s a theme here, a tad too far at times, but it made for hugely funny material that was both personal to him yet something many parents will doubtless identify with. Whether mothers view playground spats in quite the same way as men do is another matter altogether, but maybe they do.
The contrast between his love of the fight game versus being a kind, doting father parent was marked and amusing to observe.
White South African Conrad Koch attempted to entertain the packed audience with his puppeteering skills but I found him unnecessarily and gratuitously crude in his sweary filled material. I found his set so offensive I walked out after a few minutes along with another audience member. The puppet was a good novelty to have but the impact for me was destroyed by the language. Puppets and swearing go together about as well as oil and water.
Londoner Michelle de Swarte was funny, with some sharply observed routines. She too came across as overtly profane and aggressive which was off putting, which was a real shame as she obviously had funny bones and an interesting back story to draw upon.
Phil Kostelecky from Slovenia was the token white guy. His varied upbringing, included living in Austria, Slovenia and the USA resulting in him sounding like an American. He was funny and I enjoyed his set. The double finale to it was something to behold. One was apparently planned but the dramatic stage fall during handover evidently wasn’t as Kostelecky came unceremoniously tumbling down the stairs almost falling flat on his face!
Fortunately he wasn’t hurt. It was certainly a memorable end to his set, but not in the way he would have wanted. Host Che ad-libbed his way through this drama, voicing his concerns that he could have accidentally killed Phil and dreading the ensuing headlines!
Northerner Vince Atta headlined the show with an innovative set mixing reggae music with witty poetry. The audienced loved it and it was a fine way to end the show.
This showcase is a great idea and neatly dovetails with the brand new Fringe of Colour concept which aims to highlight as much of the Black and minority ethnic shows on at the Fringe Festival. If you love Black stand-up comedy this is a great way of getting a taster of the wide variety of talent out there. As the Fringe of Colour spreadsheet highlights, there are many Black shows on at the Fringe. Unfortunately amongst the 1000’s of shows on they can be easily overlooked so they and the 3rd Annual Black Comedy Showcase are addressing this by shining a welcome spotlight on Black talent and shows.
Review and photographs © Tiemo Talk of the Town
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