ARE comedians born funny? Are they forces of nature? Or products of nurture? That’s the intriguing question at the heart of this enjoyable hour from Canadian Dan Bingham.
Dan Bingham: Adopt This! Blackfriars Basement, Glasgow
A stand-up, he nevertheless delivers his tale in a rather off-Broadway, one-man-play style, opening with a routine of intentionally trite, clichéd material, before a voiceover starts, introducing his insecurities and desire to perform “real” material about himself.
Given up for adoption as a baby to a couple in Canada, all he knew about his birth parents was that they were Scottish teenagers and that his mother enjoyed skiing. Unfortunately, his new parents split soon after, and his bipolar mother’s new boyfriend, “F****** John”, beat him, while raising him in a pigsty of a house.
Anger issues, alcoholism and dabbling in petty and not-so-petty crime followed. But at 17, he got to talk to a therapist and began comprehending a few things about himself, with events shaping the 34-year-old into the performer he is today, sharing his story at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival.
Bingham eschews any easy conclusions, probably because he can’t square the circles himself. But Adopt This! still really draws you in. Amiable and ingratiating to a crowd of his ancestral compatriots, the erstwhile actor has an understated, Jim Carrey-esque animation to his self-mocking delivery and a likeable stage presence.
I really hope he brings this show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as it’s a slightly different take on the usual introductory debut.