Comedy review: Judah Friedlander, Edinburgh

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HE MAY claim to be the world champion in karate, athletics, soccer and love-making, but when it comes to stand-up comedy, Judah Friedlander is a mere contender.

The Stand

***

The guy in the hat from 30 Rock is certainly a big draw for a packed Friday night crowd and for most of his half-hour, he’s propelled forward by a huge sense of goodwill in the room. But for such an experienced comic, his scripted material isn’t strong enough to maintain the pace and when his affable audience patter dries up, a serious lull descends.

Claiming to be the offspring son of Pele and Rambo, his football and fighting prowess was clearly assured from birth. Another little known “fact” about Friedlander is that he invented Twitter in the mid-80s. It’s this kind of surreal musing that keeps his set bubbling along but there’s just not enough of it and he’s let down when opening up the floor to a Q&A about his presidential campaign.

It’s a transparent slice of improv as he attempts to steer everything back to prepared skits about his pledges to relocate Hawaii, cure blindness and make gay marriage mandatory.

An attempt to ingratiate himself upon his gathering by revealing Scotland’s unlikely victory over Croatia flops when it leads to disruption as a few people need to know the score rather than listen to his follow-up gag.

Friedlander’s finest lines recall Mitch Hedberg and Steven Wright: further work on creating more of those and cutting the adlib chit-chat would make this show a clear winner.