Michael J Dolan: Miserable Guts (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

Michael J Dolan: Miserable Guts

A bleakly marvellous hour of miserablist stand-up

Michael J Dolan is a terrible comedian, according to him. The Fringe is probably a bit too much effort to go to every year, the audience shouldn’t have picked his show and he doesn’t even want to be here. The self-effacing misanthrope presents a pitch-black take on the world. He enumerates the horrors of a universe that allows child murders and sex offenders, as well as the mundane travesties of the property ladder, consumer ethics, relationship ennui and society’s terrible attitude towards mental health problems.

Advertising campaigns also come in for scrutiny as Dolan echoes Bill Hicks. Although he shares the dead legend’s dissatisfaction with the world, he has none of his revolutionising zeal. Instead, he resembles Frankie Boyle’s utter contempt with the universe mixed with Bernard Black’s furious apathy. The word ‘bleak’ doesn’t begin to cover it.

But in the very best miserablist tradition there is joy, not just in sharing a good old moan, but also in the alchemy that turns a negative into something positive. In this case, the upside is a supremely competent and seamless hour of stand-up. The comedian doth protest too much, methinks. Attending his show is exactly where everyone should be.

The Stand 4, 558 7272, until 30 Aug, 4.50pm, £8 (£7).

Michael J Dolan: Miserable Guts

  • 4 stars

Michael J Dolan Comedy's bleak philosopher is back asking the questions nobody else will. When did I last go outside? Am I already dead? How are you meant to maintain a happy marriage in the face of the unstoppable decay of everything that exists? Stand-up comedy for people who are too tired to get angry. 'Skilful humour…