Stephen Grant needs a new marketing guy. Having been around the Fringe for the best part of forever, and with material as strong as his, Grant should be a sell-out each night.
Of course, we don't live in a just world: marketing rules the day. In much the same way as our children will happily tuck into the blended nether-regions of a tuberculosis-ridden cow so long as it's packaged in the famous golden arches, Grant's relative anonymity will result in countless thousands of Fringe-goers missing out on classic stand-up of the highest order, choosing instead someone with a designer haircut and snazzy posters.
Grant's set is old-fashioned stand up at its best. He bounces around stage with a youthful jauntiness and a genuine excitement rarely matched by circuit veterans, reeling off line after line of honest and genuinely hilarious observational comedy.
He is at his best when playing the 'understanding victim.' His admiration for the guy who ingeniously stole his MP3-player (importantly not an iPod) on the night-train and his appreciation for the increased statistical likelihood of Brighton-based men being gay while being verbally abused at the football is both charming and very funny.
The greatest problem with Grant’s set is its lack of originality. It is solid, very funny and deeply incisive, but ultimately drawn from rather safe and familiar areas: Daily Mail bashing, drunken phone calls to and from exes, being rubbish in fights. The staples of other comics on the circuit certainly get an airing. That is not to say though, that Grant is ever anything short of hilarious.
If redressing the balance between talent and the dominance of 'The Ad Guy' is of any importance to you, this could be the thing to see.