No-one plays with an audience’s limits like Alfie Brown. He takes the “likeability issues” he has been told he has and he thrusts them at us like the crotch of a male stripper in the faces of a hen party.
Alfie Brown: Lunatic, Monkey Barrel Comedy Club (Venue 515) *****
He doesn’t help dying men who collapse in the street, he uses his status as a father as, what we call in Glasgow, a “legopener”, he is proud of his “cold abstraction” and his reactions to the Grenfell tragedy and that dying man might leave you thinking that Alfie is the most selfish young man on the planet.
But. But. If we were all as honest as Alfie then he is not on his own in any of these. Which is probably why we laugh so long and so loudly.
And then there is the other Alfie. The one who would die for his son and who still loves his ex so obviously and so much. The one who skewers himself for talking to his newly verbal son on the phone while in a cab to a lap-dancing club. The one who is a brilliantly excoriating political comic and a great wordsmith and a delightful satirist. Even the one who talks so straightforwardly about suicide.
This show is extraordinarily wide-ranging – Uber drivers, breast-milk, oysters, what words are acceptable to teach your kids and even some enthusiastic singing – but this is not a comic trying to pad out his show, rather it is a comic with non-linear thinking patterns and a wealth of opinion and passion and funny. This hour is a breathtaking, mindshaking, thought-provoking, eyewatering blast. By the end of it, I really do not think there is anyone in the room who has issues with Alfie’s likeability, although, to be fair, his crowd-work could do with a bit of honing. It is pants. But it is not, thank goodness, his “thing”. It is tricky to write 350 sensible words when you come out a show simply thinking “Wow! F**k! Wow!” but I have done my best.
Until 26 August.