- Brian Donaldson
- 24 August 2010
This article is from 2010.
A passionate man taking glorious risks
For a few minutes there it looked like Tommy Tiernan had lost the plot. Starting off Crooked Man slower than Wayne Rooney at a Mensa convention, he tosses out a few semi-derogatory quips about the state of comedy at the Fringe and wondering why he’s even bothering to be here in the first place. And then he plunges into a lengthy, room-dividing sequence as he impersonates a whispering, incoherent rabbi annoying his congregation as if to suggest that this mirrors our fate for the next hour. Well, it’s nothing of the kind.
Such a brief false start merely serves to highlight the glories of what’s about to happens as Tiernan preaches and rants and implores and meditates, flying through a wide range of topics including taking his daughter to her first football game, the volley of useless information that floods our 21st century minds and why Australia will never be invaded.
It’s unlikely that a single Tiernan show since he romped into Edinburgh and nabbed the Perrier back in 1998 has failed to contain an anecdote of his early life in Navan. Here, he recalls his best friend debating with a priest how they would inform his mother that he had perished in a hypothetical blaze, while Tiernan’s past and present collide when he has a brief phone conversation with a teacher he had a crush on. With all Tiernan’s stories, there is a fierce humanity at its heart, told with passion and guile. His metaphors are poetic, his imagery beautiful.
At times, you wonder where he is going with some set-ups. When he attempts to make himself look like Hitler as he prepares to discuss sexuality, it turns into an assault on bigotry. This is Tommy Tiernan’s genius. You feel that danger and risk are just around the corner, but in the back of your mind you know you’re on safe and empathetic ground with one of stand-up comedy’s true contemporary greats.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 30 Aug (not 26), 8pm, £14–£15 (£12–£13).