This time last year, Chris Washington was a full-time postman who had taken three-and-a-half weeks’ holiday to perform his debut hour of comedy at the Fringe. He had no manager or PR firm behind him – but he did have bags of enthusiasm. In You Beauty!, Washington narrates the best year of his life, which saw him receive a surprise nomination for his show Dream Big (Within Reason) in the Best Newcomer category at the 2017 Edinburgh Comedy Awards.
In Washington’s debut, he delivered the best anecdotes from the first 28 years of his life, and since You Beauty! takes place over 12 months, the stand-up is worried his sophomore show could be Titanic 2 – the sequel no one needed. The comedian is upfront in his intention with the show: this isn’t comedy that will change your life and there no “message”, but what Washington does deliver is humour, heart and daft stories the audience can connect with.
The comedian’s first year at the Fringe was a true underdog story. He was performing to a handful of people every day and worried his comedy career was never going to take off. Then on the 23rd August 2017, he received a call from the head of the Comedy Awards telling him he’d been nominated for best newcomer. When he got the call, he hadn’t sold a single ticket for his show that day; after the announcement was made, he sold 58 tickets in half an hour.
What happens next is a fascinating account of the awards show, which sees Washington suffer from impostor syndrome as he watches his fellow nominees surrounded by teams of managers and PR professionals and wonders if the nomination is the result of a mix-up. Washington has an endearing honesty about the whole process and the crowd are swept along in the narrative of how an ordinary lad had an extraordinary experience at a festival that regularly chews up and spits out seasoned performers.
As well as the story of the Comedy Awards, the audience are treated to amusing tales from his postman days, including how he accidentally caused a wildcat strike and yarns about his mates who will make sure he never becomes an arrogant bighead – no matter how famous he becomes.
Washington may not have won the best newcomer award, but he certainly won a few new fans in the audience with his charm and personality. You Beauty! is an hour of uplifting, celebratory comedy about a guy who took a chance, followed his dreams and may just be on the cusp of something special.