On paper, Fudnut is a very conventional piece of standup. There’s observational material, confessional storytelling, accent work, a light smattering of crowd interaction and a callback or two. But all this would be to downplay Larry Dean’s craft as a performer; this is a tremendous new hour from the Scottish comedian.
The key is his masterful command of the room. It’s certainly not his first time behind the mic, and tonight the audience is in the palm of his hand. He’s disarming, self-deprecating without being self-flagellating, and confrontingly honest without being puerile. The tropes listed above – as typical as they might be – are deployed so seamlessly it’s like sleight of hand.
Dean’s been through some stuff. As he explains in his introduction, comedy has been his way of dealing with difficult things in his life. The focus tonight is on his relationship woes, particularly around a recent Australian ex-boyfriend. But he navigates his material without the feeling that he’s exploiting trauma for laughs, or any sense of artificiality – and yet there’s clearly a well crafted structure keeping it all ticking along. Plus his accent mimicry is a hoot, somehow turning the tired format of “to sound like X, all you need to do is Y” into fresh laughs.
These are welcome components in an already rich show. It’s the kind of magnetic set that might restore your faith in the art form; Adelaide is lucky to have him back.