AT 33, and just moved into the first house he’d owned, Neil Delamere’s brother pointed out that he’d now lived in Dublin longer than he’d stayed with his family out in the sticks.
NEIL DELAMERE: DELAMERE MORTAL
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Star rating: * * * *
This prompted the comic to look back at 16-year-old Neil and ask if the 33-year-old version has learned anything worth a damn.
And there you have the set-up for an hour of comedy joy from this Fringe regular and Irish TV star. One thing teenage Neil must have had was prescience, because appearing regularly on Irish schools quiz Blackboard Jungle provided suitably embarrassing footage to be incorporated into this hour-long show.
The contrast between the bemused-looking schoolboy and the confident comic of today is fun to see. His teammates and opponents also make for plenty of laughs. Never cruel ones, though – Delamere’s not one to pick on people. He likes folk too much to be mean, though he does like to tease members of the audience if they seem game, chatting to them throughout the show and homing in on the more absurd aspects of their lives with admirable precision.
Delamere’s stories range from a run-in with a policeman on Leith Walk during last year’s Fringe to a doorstep encounter with a would-be Sinn Fein councillor, via the dangers of stretching one’s muscles in the presence of your girlfriend. Then there are the chicken-bothering tenants… Delamere’s butterfly mind means he’s constantly straying away from the stories, but his diversions are always at least as funny, and that same sharp brain means he finds his way back with ease.
Which is why I always find my way back to his Fringe shows. This one comes with a cracking conclusion I won’t spoil, but it sends the audience out into the night with a sense of closure to accompany the many belly laughs. Whether riffing on a theme, or offering up a more free-form show, Delamere is one of the funniest, nicest guys on the circuit. I don’t know about 33-year-old Neil Delamere, but that’s what I’ve learned in the last several years.
• Until 26 August. Today 9pm.