Last year, Ed Day came third in the Gilded Balloon’s So You Think You’re Funny? final. This year, Ed Night is playing Gilded Balloon at the Counting House. Same guy, same venue owner, different name, but same lasting impression that this is a man going places.
The name change has been forced by a Spotlight clash, but he’s taken it in good spirit. He even works it in, claiming it as an excuse for the set being just half an hour – he’s had to junk reams of material based on his old name.
There’s no shame in doing a short show so early in a career, of course, but he might not be entirely joking about having to cobble something together quickly (see also the show title). This feels like a club set, rather than something prepared especially for Edinburgh. Gags about multi-cultural Streatham and the accidental racism of old Irish relatives sound like the kind of thing he’s been confidently churning out on the circuit. He has an easy-going, geezerish delivery, which is very marketable, and material just left-field enough that he’ll never give McIntyre any sleepless nights, but mainstream enough that you’d expect him to be cropping up on BBC2 within a few years.
Arthur Smith is in to see him this afternoon, and it doesn’t seem surprising given the South London connection. Day’s attitude is not dissimilar, or will be given another forty years of the Fringe. He needs a lot of graft building up to an hour, and a show that has a proper title, but there’s no mistaking his ability. He’s a natural.