review

★★★ Stand-Up From the Other Side

Jasper Cunningham-Ward reviews Leo Kearse: Right-Wing Comedian 

Leo Kearse labels himself as a right-wing comedian, but his show is less about politics than you might expect. The Scottish comic prides himself on being a minority at the fringe, and indeed in the field of stand up as a whole. His show presents a good message about the importance of the diversity of ideas, but his comedy mainly excels outside the political sphere.

Leo demonstrated his ability to deal with and shut down hecklers well, a skill that is definitely usefully at an outwardly politicised stand up show. Discussing everything from renationalising the railways to why Trump is not so bad, the show excels in its tangents rather than main political starting points. A rant about buying a train ticket proved more hilarious than any political overtones that accompany it, and Leo’s right-wing politics seem far less aggressive than the title of his show suggests. Sharing a story about how demonstrators have turned up to his shows, he humorously paints the portrait of today’s confused and divided politics. It is this political climate that helps the right-wing comedian draw an audience; you expect an aggressive, controversial show but get something far tamer.

Despite this, there were moments when Leo clearly intended to shock with his jokes. Sometimes this was effective, but at others, it felt like an attempt to appear more aggressively right-wing and pitch himself against the easily offended liberal “snowflake” type. Furthermore, the show involved a decent amount of toilet humour, and whilst Leo’s delivery was good, some of the jokes certainly felt old and recycled.

Overall, Leo clearly takes pleasure in playing devil’s advocate. He pokes fun at his fringe audience, peppering his pretty normal views with more outrageous jokes, designed to evoke a reaction. Whilst he attempts to stand out from his fellow fringe comedians in this way, as the show’s message about the importance of diversity of ideas suggests, when you bring both sides together, there are more similarities than differences.

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