Andrew Lawrence: Clean (2 stars)

Andrew Lawrence: Clean

credit: Steve Ullathorne

Self-deprecating hour which fails to spark

It's almost four years since Andrew Lawrence posted a lengthy diatribe on his Facebook page decrying what he perceived as a cultural assault on right-wing politics and on his right to offend. There followed a series of spats between him and a number of his contemporaries such as Dara Ó Briain and Frankie Boyle, with TV work drying up after Lawrence lambasted 'aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians'. Meanwhile, his Twitter feed descended into a vicious echo chamber as conservative zealots championed the comedian as one of their own. Lawrence was unrepentant.

So you might think you should approach Clean with trepidation, wary of this firebrand provocateur. Not so. Lawrence is so self-deprecating he'd probably consider that description too lofty. He bemoans his appearance, his voice and, oddly, his material. Only passing reference is made to the fact that he used to feature on TV, and that in years gone by he'd have filled a room like this. But he exhibits no sense of ill-will or malice.

Perhaps having a two-year-old daughter has given him some perspective on life; she certainly contributes his best material. Otherwise, this is a pretty hackneyed set: going to the gym is futile, vegans are annoying, and everything is getting more expensive. For a comedian who's been plying his trade for 15 years, Lawrence's writing lacks precision. His metaphors are unimaginative and there's no spark to the material.

Towards the end of the show he claims that in these litigious times it's unsafe for a comedian to take risks and cause offence. 'I tried to keep it clean tonight,' he deadpans. Indeed he did: this is one of the few shows in the comedy section that would offend practically no one. But having alienated swathes of his fanbase with those previous antics, and courted a sizeable following from people who rail against the prevalence of left-wing comedy, it's hard to see who this new Andrew Lawrence will appeal to.

Assembly George Square Studios, until 26 Aug, 8.10pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).

Andrew Lawrence: Clean

  • 2 stars

RBM UK stand-up's foremost contrarian takes a break from all the controversy in this new show. No politics, no religion, no smut, no swearing, just great jokes and good, clean fun. 'Superbly intelligent, highly articulate and deeply sour' (Spectator). Age category: 14+

Comments

1. Arthur18 Aug 2018, 11:31am Report

Don't miss A list stand up Andrew Lawrence at Assembly Rooms George SQ. One of the funniest and most thoughtful shows at the Edinburgh Festival. 4 Stars.

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