Review: Christopher Macarthur-Boyd: Scary Times

CMB's on killer form with both self-assurance and self-deprecation

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 13 Aug 2023
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Christopher Macarthur-Boyd

Life is always somewhat precarious when doing stand-up for a living, particularly in recent years, but one enduring positive is how supposed drawbacks elsewhere can turn into onstage gold. If it turns out you’ve got a particularly weirdly shaped head, for example, you might as well get five fantastic minutes out of it. Which is exactly what Christopher Macarthur-Boyd does here –but then the other 55 are pretty stellar too.

Scary times they may be but Macarthur-Boyd is certainly having a good one this August: full rooms, extra shows, and you can understand why that buzz began. The big-spectacled Glaswegian is in killer form, kicking off with some sensational awkwardness at a charity gig and keeping this audience half-frenzied throughout. Hit after hit after hit.

His is a winning formula: enormous onstage self-assurance allied to some absolutely vicious self-deprecation. There are good messages sprinkled within too – how a certain author’s anti-trans stance means Edinburgh might need to start celebrating a much less kid-friendly movie instead, but then he’s also happy to just pick apart the ending of an old Batman film, in relation to Woolworths closing. 

Macarthur-Boyd loves a long, digressive route to a gag, and you can sometimes see hazy outlines of those punchlines coming a mile away, like Omar Sharif on that camel in Lawrence of Arabia. But it all just adds to the expectation. Because you know it’ll be epic when it gets here.