Stephen Carlin - The Podium of Unconditional Surrender (3 stars)

This article is from 2010

Stephen Carlin - The Podium of Unconditional Surrender

Airdrie wag refuses to get tough

Stephen Carlin doesn’t really have a thing, in that way that comedians do: no identifying features. In his comedy, not facially. Facially he’s easy to spot: good-looking, with the sort of dastardly moustache that you rather suspect is going to turn out to be part of his act. But it isn’t. Things that are part of his act: Buzz Aldrin, caravans, pedantry, and the verb ‘to Argos’. Carlin is obviously a great writer. He doesn’t just take pleasure in language, he worries at it with his teeth, pulls it apart to show us how ridiculous our uses of it are; and when that passion slips out, the show catches on fire.

But, curiously, given his line of work, he doesn’t seem to want to offend anyone. There are teasing moments when it seems he’s about to take on a meaty topic – the English football team or people who voted for David Cameron – but then he shies away, preferring to riff quietly around minutiae. Go on, Stephen, show us your teeth again.

The Stand III & IV, 558 7272, until 29 Aug (not 16), 8pm, £8 (£7).

Stephen Carlin: The Podium of Unconditional Surrender

  • 3 stars

With the brooding looks of a young Sean Connery and the mind of a pedantic overlord, Stephen Carlin descends on this year's Fringe with his latest bout of comedic artistry, and demonstrates why he's been picked as a rising comedy star for 2010. As heard on BBC Radio. 'So thoughtful you would put your house on him…