Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Performing his fifth show at the Fringe in five years, Sean McLoughlin worries that he’s got nothing new to say, even if he takes comfort in this being the first he’s written without him being in the full grip of a crisis.
Laughing Horse @ City Cafe (Venue 85)
That’s not entirely true though, as he’s still afflicted by his mediocrity. Having failed to break out with a fine show at the Pleasance last year, he’s only just getting by in comedy and has retreated to the Free Festival, aware that some of his stand-up peers are drowning in their millions while others are taking desperate bookings anywhere.
Although he refuses to compromise professionally, offended by a publicist’s notion that he ought to invent a more interesting backstory, he’s happy to be a liar in his personal life, arguing that it’s life’s little fictions that smooth the pursuit of romance. With a particularly intense blend of arrogance and vulnerability, he reveals how his itinerant, unpredictable comedian’s lifestyle means that the dating chit-chat of most girls leaves him bored, his belated enthusiasm for sowing his wild oats and discovering pornography manifesting itself in all sorts of issues.
Chief amongst these is his body dysmorphia, which he persistently harks back to, even when advocating a more ethical form of porn, establishing an amusing refrain about his problems with his penis. Although his closing momentum is checked as he struggles to fix his venue’s backdrop, which suddenly collapses, he mischievously affects to be a high-minded progressive, even if his gurning, confessional disclosures have suggested otherwise. An accomplished joke writer, ever-ready to share his neuroses, McLoughlin’s problem is that his loser persona fits a little too snugly and might just condemn him to be a cult act for all eternity, whatever his fantasies about posterity.
Until today, 6:45pm.