Dave Callan (2 stars)

This article is from 2013

Dave Callan

Study of comedy from Irish-Australian comic that wanders from core subject

In his 1913 book The Psychology of Laughter, academic Boris Sidis delved into the psyche to analyse why we find things funny. In his show of the same name, Irish-Australian comic Dave Callan aims to bring to light Sidis’ findings. While he succeeds in highlighting this intriguing information however, he fails to actually make it funny.

You almost don’t want to blame Callan for his shortcomings. A likeable, dandyish figure in crushed velvet clothes (and, by the by, in possession of some killer dance moves), his enthusiasm for the study of comedy is infectious, and the first ten minutes or so get by on the strength of the source material and Callan’s endearingly fumbled punchlines. As time goes on though, he wanders from his core subject: too much of the hour is dedicated to facile contrasts between 2013 and 1913; clunky mobile phones are made fun of as if the joke didn’t have a 1990s sell-by date; and there’s even a bizarre, unprovoked rant about the evils of fad dieting. Students of comedy should most certainly head along for Callan’s opening chapter, but be ready to grab their jackets when he starts on Victorian Facebook.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 26 Aug, 11.59pm, £10 (£8).

Dave Callan: The Psychology of Laughter

  • 2 stars

Dave found a book in Edinburgh last year called the Psychology of Laughter. It was written in 1913. An exact century of time later Dave brings the volume to a new audience, updating it for now and explaining exactly why we laugh at the things we find hilarious. Which is a dangerous thing to do in a comedy show. Like going…