Assembly George Square (Venue 3)
Star rating: * * *
Greg Proops Podcast: The Smartest Man in the World
Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
Star rating: * * * *
Here we get Proops at his sneering, smart-assed, cutting best, with the added delight of seeing and hearing him get properly political.
In the early show, while we get all of the skills, lots of clever points made and a decent helping of sadistic sniping at random targets which are then left bleeding as the red spot that is Proop’s comedy viewfinder lights on another hapless victim, it does feel a little like comedy’s Acid Queen is coasting.
He’s possibly distracted by the amount of noise spilling into his tent from outside and adjacent venues. Having said which, his views on childcare, while they had the rest of the tent gasping and guffawing, had me nodding in agreement, especially about the beatings. Blogging and sexy underwear, country music and presidential elections all get Prooped to the accompaniment of the music from next door.
In both shows, Danny Boyle and his Olympic opening ceremony, and the closing one, get it point-blank, both barrels, from Greg’s big guns, and it is hilarious. But the podcast also offers another few chapters from Greg’s novel, a gallop through the press of the day and then a great Gregorian anti-government diatribe.
From the imprisonment of Pussy Riot in Russia to Julian Assange, Proops berates governments who are afraid of any truths, points out that six people in four years have been imprisoned under the Espionage Act during Barack Obama’s administration, decries the fact that the very newsgathering process is being criminalised these days and passionately warns: “The government is not your friend.”
To see a big brain like this actually working on something meaningful is a thrill. Whatever Proops does will be funny, pointed, sharply witty. But to see him get those comedy incisors into some political meat is something not to be missed.
• Assembly, until 25 August. Today 6:15pm; Gilded Balloon, until today, 10:30pm