Stuart Black: Lemsip & Cigarettes (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Stuart Black: Lemsip & Cigarettes

Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Wiry stand-up with an angry edge

Angry dishevelled comedians used to be a cliché, now Stuart Black is one of the last examples of a dying breed. Edgy and wiry, you get the impression this isn't an act. Black has lived the life and bought the t-shirt. By way of introduction, he explains this is his tenth year on the Fringe but his first without the chemical assistance of Prozac.

This is a story of redemption and cleaning up his act, as Black lays out various routes to happiness – mainly religion and new age nonsense – before trashing them. Instead he's settled on the best god-damn cowboy boots in Edinburgh (they really are a thing of wonder) Black is constantly sharp and incisive, so we'll forgive a few dated references (Boomtown Rats or Jamiroquai, for example). Even as we dredge through his past living in squats and an abandoned mental hospital, he's somehow charming and beguiling rather than cold or alienating.

So when in the last 15 minutes he announces 'it's time to get dark', you'd better buckle up. And it takes one hell of an accomplished comedian to wring laughs out of a damaged relationship with an alcoholic father. Pitch black but spectacularly smart.

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 662 6801, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 10.15pm, free.

Lemsip & Cigarettes

  • 3 stars

Stuart Black / Free Festival Described as a comic-philosopher (, Stuart Black's social commentary is truthful, intelligent and eloquent. Stuart Black's style and intelligence set him apart as a truly original and independent voice in comedy.