Edinburgh Festival Fringe: A bugbear for its detractors and a regular stumbling block even for its supporters, political correctness approached with a mischievous, inquiring mind can be a potent source of humour.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Despite being a Fringe newcomer, Darren Harriott has already evolved a happy knack of being able to grab your attention with an unexpected opinion, then argue you at least some of the way round to his way of thinking with contrary analysis and mildly subversive logic, all of it underpinned by a consistent burst of strong punchlines.
Although the 28-year-old has only recently developed an interest in politics, voting for Jeremy Corbyn based on little more than the Labour leader’s willingness to let himself be moved by music, Harriott is somewhat more convincing when he questions the rapper-endorsed personality cult around Barack Obama. As Black British, he can share in the nation’s glories without any lingering feelings of imperial guilt. And as a wannabe champagne socialist, he finds himself moved to defend the rich, a Remain voter who reckons that come Brexit, we need to get behind this great country.
His capacity to see both sides of an issue might be attributable to his parents, his strong, supportive mother and late, drug-dealing and troubled Rastafarian father, his willingness to engage in introspection tempered by the mental health issues running throughout his family.
Rejecting the more ridiculous aspects of Rastafarianism outright, he’s also seen humanity at it’s worst in his former job as a bouncer. Amusing anecdotes betray his fear about Muslims acting unexpectedly on public transport and his discomfort at the evolving possibilities of gender and sexuality emerging, even as he’s down for the LGBT cause. Relaxed and assured, Harriott balances ego, insecurity and social awareness in a charismatic manner, so expect to see much more of him soon.
Until tomorrow. Today 9:30pm.