Comedy review: Jamie Dalgleish: Wide-O, Glasgow

Jamie Dalgleish exploits his experiences growing up in Glasgow without rancour
Jamie Dalgleish exploits his experiences growing up in Glasgow without rancour
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“A bit of a smartarse, a bit of a fanny.” That’s the colloquial definition of a “wide-o” apparently, and the agreed consensus on Jamie Dalgleish after his third Glasgow Comedy Festival hour.

Jamie Dalgleish: Wide-O - Blackfriars Basement, Glasgow

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Steeped in the city of his upbringing – at least, the more colourful parts – the 27-year-old brings cheek and charm to accounts of entrepreneurial ingenuity in Parkhead and thriving as a paperboy in Easterhouse.

Surviving to tell the tale of having world champion boxer and boozer Scott Harrison as a neighbour, he’s ambivalent about his origins, playing with class stereotypes but affording them believable reality as he recalls trying to explain the concept of hand-me-downs to a benighted denizen of Bearsden.

Elsewhere, he demonstrates that you can take the man out of Glesga but not Glesga out of the man. With tales about holidays domestic and foreign, aspirant and depressingly down-to-earth, he can’t escape his wide-o inclinations, hitting a Tuscan wine tour like it’s happy hour in Magaluf.

Plenty of his routines revolve around closeted, culturally impoverished aspects of Glaswegian life meeting the wider, more cosmopolitan world. “I’m scum!” he cheerfully acknowledges at one point. Nevertheless, there’s only the briefest trace of chippiness towards the kids who went on Disney holidays in Florida, while he was forced to make his own rodent-related fun in a crap Scottish caravan park.

Dalgleish exploits the disparity of the experience without lingering rancour, fostering a mood of inclusivity with the crowd. His social observations can lack nuance and subtlety, but he has a wry eye for cultural absurdity and invariably makes himself the butt of the joke – a rare counter-example being the dope-smoking friend who contrives an inventive reason for Italy to oppose gay marriage.

A grinning, affable stage presence, he good-naturedly admits defeat with a tale about his suicidal driving instructor, when a possessed audience member decides she wants two minutes of his spotlight for her own tale – the initial indulgence in his eyes giving way to brief panic, then incredulity at how long she can blether on for.

Unquestionably, he’s an act that tends to put an audience at ease, capably negotiating the absurdity of sectarianism for example, with a boy-next-door appeal that only Scott Harrison might fail to appreciate. There is no single, standout routine in the show but equally, there are no stinkers either and Dalgleish emerges as a credit to Glasgow’s wide-o community.

Seen on 14.03.15