Keith Farnan (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Keith Farnan

An astute analysis of fear

Keith Farnan's tack is to take on big, serious topics and sieve out the comedy. In past years, he's looked at economic crisis, sex trafficking, racism and the death penalty. For 2013, he takes on a more abstract foe: fear. Without specific institutions or individuals to rail against, his inquiry turns inwards and we are treated to his critique of how fear informs life choices, from parenting to copulation and even how we measure our self-worth.

Farnan does not let up and for the entire hour, he riffs on his theme. With ease and confidence the Irishman works his crowd, making sure to take every single person in that room with him as he whips himself into a beardy, whirling dervish of comedy.

Fear becomes a lens through which to examine events in his own life and some of the most genuine and insightful moments occur when Farnan veers into personal territory. The only thing that feels lacking is the trajectory of the narrative: there's no big pay-off. But perhaps that just serves to illustrate a fear of endings.

Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug (not 13), 6.20pm, £9–£10.50 (£8–£9.50).

Keith Farnan: Fear Itself

  • 3 stars

Irish comedian Keith Farnan (Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Live at the Comedy Store, Just For Laughs All Access) follows his acclaimed shows about money, the death penalty and feminism with a show about fear. Franklin D Roosevelt said: 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself' - frankly, an understatement, Franklin.