Review: Emmanuel Sonubi: Emancipated

An insightful debut hour from the North Londoner

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 04 Aug 2022
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Emmanuel Sonubi

Stand-up comedian Emmanuel Sonubi used to moonlight as a nightclub bouncer and, at six feet three and nineteen stone, it is easy to appreciate why. 

Sonubi’s problem, though – and the central theme of his new hour Emancipated – is that what was on the inside did not match society’s expectations about the outside. Raised in North London with five older sisters, he was always more interested in musicals than muscles, always keener on Fame than fighting. In fact, before he became a comedian a few years ago, Sonubi worked extensively as an actor. 

But it's his experiences as a bouncer that are the most entertaining element of Emancipated. He has a brilliant riff on how watching over a dancefloor is like looking after young children, and several outrageous stories of the things he saw drunk people do while on the job. Sonubi tells them all with an easy, affable charm. 

He meanders a little – early festival nerves, probably, given this is his Fringe debut – and he is more insightful than outright hilarious when it comes to more serious subjects like stereotyping and cancel culture, but he never seems out of his depth. His star is on the rise, too, having recently appeared on Live at the Apollo and supported Jason Manford on tour. This show is another solid step up the ladder.