Bobby Mair: Obviously Adopted (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Bobby Mair: Obviously Adopted

A talent that gets ragged around the edges for his Fringe debut

If anyone thinks that the comedy of Bobby Mair is going to bring people together in arm-locking community harmony, they don’t have a grip on their own mind. The Canadian-born, UK-based comic divides rooms and opinions with his brand of dark humour. He doesn’t see his comedy as especially bleak, and when put up beside the work of Jerry Sadowitz and Doug Stanhope (two comedians he’s been the support act for), Mair can sometimes seem about as dangerous as Adam Hills.

Stanhope, though, is an instructive comparison, as he made his first in-roads on British audiences upon the same stage at The Tron. But while the American got through his gigs with a skinful of liquor and hops, Mair rides it out by working on his nerves. At times, he seems to be having a great time, enjoying the awkward silences as much as he laps up the scattered laughter; at others, it looks like he might dash for the nearest emergency exit.

A lukewarm crowd doesn’t help and it’s unclear how many would have filled out the form handed out at the beginning in which Mair offers himself up to perform at your home for friends and family. If you go a bundle on revenge fantasies from beyond the grave, stories about trying to surreptitiously masturbate in the same bed as a sleeping parent and various death / rape / enslavement routines, then stockpile those nachos now.

There’s no doubt Mair has qualities that could see him propelled to the top of whatever comedy tree he fancies climbing. This Fringe might not be his breakthrough moment but you pray that he isn’t taken under the wing of anyone who might try to smooth off those rougher edges. Without them, Bobby Mair would just be another regular comedy joe. And that would be a genuine tragedy.

Just the Tonic at The Tron, 556 5375, until 25 Aug (not 13), 7.40pm, £8.50–£10.

Bobby Mair

Offbeat and aggressive humour from Mair – who's been gracing your tellyboxes recently on 8 Out of 10 Cats, Russell Howard's Good News and Seann Walsh's Late Night Comedy Spectacular.