Comedy review: Rob Newman, Edinburgh

Rob Newman

Rob Newman

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A HECKLE at a Rob Newman show would surely be a higher class of abuse. Perhaps a Richard Dawkins fan would take offence at the ukulele-wielding comic’s portrayal of their idol as a neo-Darwinist quack who plays philosophical mind games with his postie?

Rob Newman - The Stand, Edinburgh

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Or maybe a palaeontology buff might huffily balk at his casual way with a Fred Flintstone reference? The worst that is ever likely to occur on the New Theory of Evolution tour is an audience member shuffling away confused, regretting they hadn’t stuck in at school.

While Newman self-mocks that his show is not exactly “knockabout observational comedy”, he is still able to get down and silly with the best of them. Alec Guinness and Ronnie Corbett impersonations are way too infrequent on the stand-up circuit these days and he is clearly a fan of the lovingly constructed call-back, of which there are at least half a dozen. Even when he delves into potentially hack territory (the Daily Mail, train travel, parenthood), he is able to reinvigorate such topics with verve and charm.

Claiming to have been busy for the last six years writing a swashbuckling historical novel and examining the national differences in animal calls, he does have a central point to all this heady intellectualism: it’s not the fittest who will survive and prosper, but society’s misfits. As David Baddiel’s other comedy half, Rob Newman had a high level of fame within his grasp. Choosing to shy away from a celebrity status and burrow away on the fringes was the best move he ever made.

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