This article is from 2006.
Ben Elton berated Thatcher, Bill Hicks condemned artists who sell out and Lenny Bruce attacked the authorities who took him to task for bad language onstage. Every comedian has their arch nemesis, and in the case of Stephen Grant that would be, er, people who misuse punctuation, maul grammar and say that they gave 110 per cent in a situation. ‘You just can’t!’ he says with a maniacal glint in his eye and with the kind of precise emphasis on every syllable that characterises the entire set.
Surely the lovechild of Simon Pegg and Paul Merton (body-wise), Grant ventures beyond the stresses of being pedantic with a handful of nods to more serious issues - smoking, obesity and worldwide oil shortages - which he tackles with a delicate balance of controlled venom and methodic wit. Things take a pleasingly surreal turn with his own inventions on how to make the world a better place, a highlight which has been conceived from the same kind of thinking that gave us the subversive comedy genius of Viz’s Top Tips. Praise indeed. (Emma Newlands)
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, until 27 Aug (not 15, 21), 8.45pm, £8-£9 (£7-£8).