Alex Edelman: Just For Us
- Brian Donaldson
- 13 August 2018
Another excellent hour from Boston's finest
If you were faced with a line-up of 20 people which included Alex Edelman and were asked to pick out the person who went undercover at a neo-Nazi meeting, you'd possibly have the comic as perhaps the most 18th likely; maybe 15th at best. Yet, here he is, on stage, telling us how he went all full-metal Theroux, by slipping largely unnoticed into a New York apartment which housed a number of far-right activists, including an eighty-something jigsaw-puzzle addict.
Just for Us – Edelman's third Fringe hour after the Best Newcomer-winning Millennial and its equally strong follow-up, Everything Handed to You – is a show of many parts, all of which are mercurially brought together by this confident almost 30-year-old. Kicking off with the story of the late Koko the Gorilla being told of the death of her friend Robin Williams and ending with Edelman just about escaping from that meeting alive when he lets slip about his Jewishness (some of the people in that room had already figured it out): is he drawing a comparison between an empathetic simian and hateful anti-Semites?
Insisting that all he does is 'dumb jokes', the gravelly-voiced Bostonian recalls the moment when he decided to write a show that had a little more heft than his previous Fringe hours, when his eyes were opened in a conversation with Bridget Christie. Just for Us isn't all about a comic's awakening and their subsequent actions, though, it also features celebrity encounters with Stephen Fry and Prince William, discusses how sexy the last few US presidents have been (spoiler alert: the incumbent does not fare too well), pokes fun at his twin brother's sporting accomplishments (he's appeared at the Winter Olympics for Israel in the skeleton event) and the toxic side to social media.
For 60 whole minutes, Alex Edelman keeps the momentum going and has his crowd knee-deep in laughs with a show that reveals him to be far more than a 'dumb joke' machine.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug, 8pm, £10–£14.