Andrew Lawrence: Reasons to Kill Yourself
Vitriolic Edinburgh Fringe comedy show fully of nasty yet clever jokes
This article is from 2014.
For two-thirds of Reasons to Kill Yourself, Andrew Lawrence was firing up a Fringe storm. Having wandered on once the strains of ‘Psycho Killer’ (but, of course) had faded, the stand-up scene’s foremost misanthrope spent 40 minutes riffing long, hard and funny on the things that get right on his wick. Those who have had the merest whiff of his act before will be unsurprised to know that this amounts to rather a lot, and prompts Lawrence into a couple of his trademark breathless explosions of vitriol.
Forget about the notion of sport bringing people together: the odds of failure means that the Commonwealth Games is a ‘bloodbath of failure’. And as for the recent surge in successful feminist comedy, well, he’s wholly dismissive that anyone would want that for an evening’s entertainment. But death, disasters and degradation? Yep, sure, bring it on.
There are some nasty yet clever jokes about famous dead people and epilepsy, but when it all feels comfortingly horrid, everything turns on its head in the last stages. Lawrence had hinted throughout at some dissatisfaction with his place in the comedy firmament. A great run of 18 months with plenty acclaim and large audiences had frittered away to nothing except separation from two long-terms attachments in quick succession: his girlfriend and his agent.
He may now be happier with a new partner, but his viewpoint on his career seems less positive, and he ends by more or less announcing that he may well be finished with the Fringe after this August. And before a hushed crowd, he bade us goodnight. In terms of grandstanding climaxes, it’s not exactly up there with Bill Hicks’ ‘inner and outer space’ sermon. There are some who may have viewed this as brave, but in terms of whipping the carpet from under his own and his crowd’s feet, it felt like a serious error of judgment.
Assembly Rooms, 0844 693 3008, until 24 Aug (not 11, 18), 8.45pm, £10 (£9).