A STAND-UP roughly half his life, it’s easy to forget that the prodigious Kevin Bridges is just 31. He might still be mining memories of his adolescence, brushing off the so-called “fat shaming” he endured as a teen, putting it in the give-and-take context of playground insults. But he’s open and specific about the anxiety he suffered at school, particularly in exams. And he’s sympathetic to modern youth, growing up in a world that’s “f***ed”.
Kevin Bridges: The Brand New Tour, Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh ****
Retaining the sharp social observation and blunt, pithy descriptions that have been his stock-in-trade since bursting into the public consciousness, he’s marrying them now to topical commentary. Not that he’d ever define it as such. Tackling Trump, Brexit, trans awareness and social media envy, Bridges’ great skill has always been to find the relatable, populist angle, characterising the US president as a bar blowhard or taxi driver to be indulged up to a point, then ignored. Similarly, he explains how he learned to wean himself off constantly checking his phone from his no-nonsense dog rather than from any therapist or self-help guide.
A routine about Mary and Joseph is more standalone, with the comic’s respect for a religious faith he doesn’t share somewhat secondary to his enjoyment in the possibilities he opens up - imagining the dutiful Joe explaining his parental situation to the rest of the Nazareth building site. And with a classic closing Bridges routine about the anxiety of waiting for a pre-app takeaway, the Glaswegian defines himself as the voice of the last generation to know a time without the internet. - JAY RICHARDSON