Dan Soder: Son of a Gary (4 stars)

Dan Soder: Son of a Gary

Diving into the darkness with a gifted stand-up

Dispelling any notion people might have that a happy person would ever become a stand-up, Dan Soder delivers an impressive hour that's as bleak as it is powerfully funny. His backstory of growing up in Colorado with a father who was never around if there was liquor to be drunk somewhere else has left Soder with a fairly unhealthy view of the world, but one which he has channelled into excellent jokes and well-rounded routines.

He recalls himself as a 12-year-old who enjoyed playing with action figures but had also discovered smoking, and believes himself now to be '20% white trash' where he pursues the simple pleasures such as falling asleep as soon after eating a big meal as he possibly can. Detailing his many experiences with drugs, Soder believes it's wrong for someone to be both a hypochondriac and suicidal, and he digs deeper into the murkiest recesses for material to back up his dark thesis.

Despite his clear gifts as a stand-up, he sees comedy as the antithesis of high art ('there's no two-drinks minimum at ballet') even if it's a viable avenue for easing pain. Occasionally edging towards hack material (screaming babies on planes, the old ways in which people consumed porn) Soder always finds a unique way to navigate potentially predictable waters.

Underbelly Bristo Square, until 25 Aug, 7.15pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).

Dan Soder: Son Of A Gary

  • 4 stars

Live Nation presents In his new hour of stand-up, American comedian Dan Soder addresses the many questions that the mid-30s bring: should he (if given the chance) have kids? Is wanting to be liked a bad thing? Are police dogs on your side? From screaming babies on airplanes to remembering what his single mum had to go…

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