Comedy review: Michael Legge: The Idiot, The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh

Michael Legge: The Idiot, The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5)
Michael Legge: The Idiot, The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5)
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Steeped in his resentment of comedy and the Fringe, the perverse Michael Legge lambastes his venue upgrade this year and contrives bespoke jokes for the absent Robin Ince and Graham Linehan,

Michael Legge: The Idiot, The Stand Comedy Club * * * *

He bitterly denounces ukulele-playing comedians as no better than the silent disco participating scum he’d like to violently erase from Edinburgh’s streets and envies the misdeeds of Ricky Gervais and Louis CK. Unlike them though, he’s capable of feeling immense shame. He’s failing his potential. As we all are. Because for some reason, inexplicably, and in the history of recorded time, only one man has ever chosen to be Iggy Pop.

Like the Stooges frontman, Legge is a professional self-harmer with a few things to get off his chest. And except for a few other tenuous links, raised aloft like the Ten Commandments, that’s where the comparison ends. An instinctive misanthrope, it seems unlikely that the resentful Northern Irishman will be the face of insurance anytime soon, his impotent rage and resignation his sole basis for a shot at comedy awards.

Fortunately, if only James Osterberg has chosen to become Iggy Pop, only Jacob Rees Mogg has chosen to be his own particular brand of idiosyncratic idiot. Beneath all the bluff, bluster and irritability, what truly sticks in Legge’s craw is the Tory politician’s casual disregard for the Irish peace process in the Brexit negotiations, the comic’s sarcastic beckoning for a return to The Troubles flecked with the spit of utter contempt, even as he dredges absurdly funny anecdotes from his adolescence in Ulster. Hilariously conflating another detestable right-winger,

Tommy Robinson, with one of his other erstwhile musical heroes, sharing his physical insecurities, Legge’s central point still stands. Why the hell aren’t we all as unencumbered and expressive as Iggy Pop? In the final pluckings of his self-hatred, he at least approaches his idol, hypnotising chickens as he goes.
JAY RICHARDSON
Until 26 August

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