Ed Night: Jokes of Love and Hate, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh * * * *
It’s Ed Night’s turn to get dark this year and he does a pretty good job of taking us inside his skin and he is not scared of shining a light into the scarier corners of his life.
A comedian with a razor- sharp understanding of how to craft a joke, he is also deeply aware of his roots – from the Irish rebel blood that runs through his veins to the street smarts that come from living in his part of South London. His sex life is pretty grim – for reasons he illustrates in distressingly graphic detail. And he’s living in a world where gender and sexuality are more fluid than ever.
It might sound like a relentlessly depressing hour – but what lifts the spirits is Night’s determination to be a decent person despite all this. He’s moral, upright and immensely thoughtful, with an astonishingly clear perspective on historical and political context.
Don’t let the Sarf London drawl fool you – Night is also very precise in the way he creates a picture, sets the atmosphere, draws you in and then flicks an unexpected twist. He’s on stage in overwashed black denim and a tee-shirt but he speaks for all the world as if he’s wearing a suit. Politicians, famous comics, sexually voracious young women – no-one is sacred in his world and Night is also more than happy to make himself the butt of a joke.
I just hope there’s a little bit more light and joy in his life in his future. As far as comedy goes, he’s pretty much cracked it already.
Until 25 August