He may seem like a lovely chap but Gareth Waugh has an admission to make. “I am a toxic man,” says the Edinburgh-based comic, as he stands boldly before us on The Stand stage.
Thankfully this isn’t some huge life-changing, career-derailing revelation. He just means in the context of the arts, and the Fringe, because he openly enjoys things like football, early airport pints and – a big set-piece – an epic week-long Las Vegas stag-do all paid for by a famous and clearly minted comedian. Let the guess-who games begin.
The main reason his own masculinity has loomed into focus recently: he’s become a father, to a son, which is the main thrust here, in more ways than one. Childbirth is hardly a rare comedic topic but Waugh keeps things fresh by adopting a sort of advisory role, a what not to do list for any prospective dads in the audience, based on his own awkward fumblings. Worrying moments cropped up during that process, but he doesn’t dwell, moving swiftly on to how life has changed with the new arrival; social life in particular. That stag-do feels like a last hurrah, and it’s quite a tale.
There are no clever tricks or gimmicks here, just a very good stand-up talking about his very big year, and how that can change perspectives. Give it another 12 months and he could be in a whole different place - but probably still packing them in at The Stand.