Alfie Brown: Soul for Sale
Saving his soul and salvaging comedy in one fell swoop
This article is from 2012.
In one thought-provoking hour, 25-year-old Alfie Brown singlehandedly reminded the Fringe that there’s more to the comedy world than profits piling up on the backs of homogenised Roadshow-rabid joke-automatons. It’s rather kneejerk and easy these days to slag off poor old McIntyre but that’s no reason to stop. And why should Brown cease when he has a series of steadfast opinions on the watering-down of an artform that is now viewed solely as an industry.
It’s highly unlikely that Brown would have written a Fringe show about a rail journey that went wrong but his passions were properly enflamed last August when a comedy promoter, who had no grasp of the history of his chosen field, gave the comic some pretty sage advice: be funny, don’t be clever.
Those empty words are a large motivating factor behind Soul for Sale, but it’s not the only thing that has truly riled Brown of late. The success of Adele definitely irks him, especially when this ‘foghorn’ began spouting off about her tax burden. Beyond that, he’s peeved about the ludicrous double standards of music censors who let some appalling messages through under the pop banner (we’re talking Rihanna, we’re talking Beyoncé). But particularly bugging Brown is the Oliver Stone movie about 9/11.
Now, all this sounds like canon comedy fodder but Brown makes all of it stack up neatly and smash it all down as symbols of the drivel that we are force to endure on a daily basis. It’s appropriate that Brown stumbles into an impromptu Tom Waits impersonation. Like the maverick troubadour, Brown’s ultimate aim is never to compromise his ideals; he is not in it for the riches and the red carpets, he is here to change the face of his chosen field, one whose history he is very aware of. Young, hairy and angry, Alfie Brown is quite simply the future of British stand-up.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 6.25pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50).