“ Pleasance Courtyard / 60 The Pleasance / Edinburgh. 03 Aug 2007 - 27 Aug 2007. „
Some see Adam Bloom as the Josie Long of the late 90s, his material being based primarily around the re-telling of amusing events from his recent life and when criticised for not being a proper comedian, attracting the defence of fans who claim he is so nice in real life. Winning a couple of prestigious awards in 1998, and being nominated for, but ultimately failing to win the coveted Stella Artois award in 1999, Adam has remained a firm presence in the comedy world, producing a forgettable radio show The Problem with Adam Bloom for a few series and having a single stand-up routine about Fanta repeated endlessly on the Paramount Comedy channels to the point of irritating overfamiliarity. His new Fringe show Look at Me, Anybody! is explained as an attempt by the comedian to write more proper jokes, a concern of many comedians this year it seems, while also making sure to include a couple of instances of the word poo for long-time fans.
An underlying theme of Adams show is his attempt at anger management, which it soon becomes obvious he hasnt succeeded in partly due to the incompetence of his short-tempered anger management consultant, whose angry response was legally recorded on Adams answer phone and now echoes around the room in the Pleasance Dome each night to the laughter of his guests. Adams anger problem is a genuine one, and even manifested itself entirely accidentally in the performance I attended, which saw him having to apologise towards the end for getting a bit annoyed when some of his jokes didnt get the response he had hoped. Nevertheless, as the old defence goes, he does seem like a genuinely nice guy, interacting with the audience on a personal level that excludes mockery and is more concerned, as usual, with flirting with women he fancies (which he explains is all women ever). This years show is a marked improvement on some shows past, bringing the divide between the loose banter and the firmly structured routines a little closer.
To prove he is a proper comedian after all, Adam makes sure to include some edgy jokes about terrorism and the Quran, although this defiance is diluted a little by his insistence that a joke about Muslims inflating a bouncy Mosque is in no way offensive and in fact represents a beautiful, harmonised world. Fortunately, he saves his integrity by ending on a proper, well-deserved punchline about the positive effects of blowing up a building. A routine that works less well is Adams attempt at technical wizardry with the accompaniment of a mobile phone recording as a sort of ventiloquists dummy, but for the most part these are all enjoyable and memorable stories of anger, love and David Jason (an oddly popular reference at Fringe shows this year, almost as much as exclamation marks in show titles). Theres no doubt that the audience is watching a performer in popular decline, his venue shrinking slightly each year, but it seems that Adam Bloom is finally starting to live up to his own hype, even if people with digital TV will have heard some of these jokes before.
Look At Me, Anybody! plays at the Pleasance Dome in Bristo Square from 1st to 27th August (not 13th) at 8.15pm, lasting one hour. Prices are £9.50 to £10.50 (£8.00 to £9.00 concessions).
Next review: Daniel Kitson Its the Fireworks Talking.
The multi award-winning star of BBC Radio 4's 'The Problem with Adam Bloom' returns with an intensely inventive new show. 'He's been one of my favourite stand-ups for about ten years' Ricky Gervais.