Pain is funny – other people’s that is – and this show is a schadenfreude fan’s dream as tales of performing to half empty rooms, drunk stags and hens, and in what sound like war zones, all to stony silence, ironically illicit waves of laughter.
The format is simple: four comics – some, but not all appearing at the Fringe – are introduced by the likeable Javier Jarquin, each baring their souls about the times they crashed and burned.
First up on this occasion was Stephen Grant, who’s been in the business for eighteen years and so has a large collection of death stories to draw on. The highlight was his tale of performing to a corporate crowd who’d just been show the world’s most harrowing film. The task of lifting a room after that would challenge the skill of any comic.
Nigel Lovell – who’s hosting a similar show at the Fringe and Garrett Millerick both had stories of drink and cocaine fuelled crowds which were painful and painfully funny and Millerick’s tale of a blood soaked sketch performance during a previous Fringe proves that the show doesn’t always have to go on.
The final act, Micky Bartlett, had a feast of stories the highlight being his home town performance for members of the IRA which makes playing for a drunk Fringe crowd seem like a walk in the park.
The cast changes every day on this show, so you can’t guarantee every day will be of the same quality, but if you’re the sort of heartless person who enjoys other’s misery then, no matter who takes the stage, you’ll probably like this show.