Kwame Asante: Teenage Heartblob
- Marissa Burgess
- 21 August 2018
This article is from 2018.
Taking on issues around weight gain in a poignant tale
Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Kwame Asante is another one of those ultra-organised comedians who also manages to be a doctor too. Working in a busy Birmingham hospital, Asante manages to juggle the two whilst holding down a relationship – just – but only if he lets her write some of his jokes.
In this year's follow-up to his 2017 Fringe debut, Asante addresses his time as an overweight teenager. When he was a child, his immigrant parents worked very hard but their absence in the home meant that young Kwame formed some bad habits regarding food. This allows for some good-natured, self-deprecating fat jokes about the love for a bucket of KFC plus a conversation with his belly: this is particularly amusing given that he's picked Hal Cruttenden (whose voice could barely be more white and middle-class) to take on the role of his tum. Ultimately though, this doctor would never fat-shame anyone; he still has his own bouts of weight-gain, so he understands patients' problems.
But for Asante, the issues attached to being overweight weren't just the potential for being bullied and not feeling good about himself, there was a more poignant layer brought about when he visited his grandparents' rural village in Ghana each summer. The people there often struggled for enough to eat with children becoming malnourished. For Asante, his size became emblematic of hedonistic Western culture and its wastefulness.
Throughout, Asante maintains a measured delivery, though sometimes it feels like we're experiencing his bedside manner. He's softly spoken, charming and warm, but his stand-up would benefit from a little more energy. Nevertheless, this is an interesting and engaging hour from a burgeoning stand-up star.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 26 Aug, 9.45pm, £8.50–£10 (£7.50–£9)