Erich McElroy: The British Referendum
A funny plea for staying together
This article is from 2014.
Every hack and their dog are spouting Scottish referendum material at this year’s Fringe, but American comic Erich McElroy has gone one step further by devoting 60 minutes to it. It's a subject ripe for satire, and while his show is hardly explosive, he explores it with an outsider’s eye for amusing detail. A British citizen since 2007, this amiable ex-pat has an unusual interest in our political landscape. He may not be eligible to vote in September, but he’s obviously followed the saga with a scrutiny that would shame most Scots-born commentators.
PowerPoint comedy shows are often the last refuge of the lazy scoundrel, but McElroy’s inspired choice of clips – such as Salmond's grandstanding juxtaposed with right-wing US Christian insanity – are bolstered by a warm, witty narration supporting his central theme: pride in one’s background is perfectly acceptable until it degenerates into absurd nationalism.
Despite being firmly in the ‘no’ camp, McElroy’s show never comes across as a divisive polemic. It’s a heartfelt plea from a smart, sharp, endearing comic who’s baffled by the very idea of cultural separatism. It’s likely that even the staunchest independence supporter will be charmed by his inclusive monologue.
The Community Project, 556 5375, until 24 Aug (not 12), 6.55pm, £8--£10.