Note: This review is from the 2020 Fringe

The stars of the show Comics Solving ProblemsSteve N Allen and Erich McElroy, mention that their show went through something of a naming crisis. Originally they were called Comics in Quarantine but they realised that they weren’t under quarantine. Then it was Comics in Lockdown, but the full lockdown is not really in effect right now. Now, it’s simply Comics Solving Problems. This indecisiveness may occasionally filter through into their show, but happily they are both funny enough to keep the ball rolling in this 45-minute poke at world news.

For the first 15 minutes or so, they seem more adept at identifying problems rather than solving them. This in itself, though, still brings up some funny anecdotes – for example, pointing out how “poker games are going to be ruined” now we should all be wearing masks. Their observation is their key strength, addressing hot topics from the news while armed with their working knowledge of British culture. When it comes to choosing to close either pubs or schools, Allen’s response is bang on the mark: “don’t make us choose between pubs and anything. We’re the British public.” Fans of this politically pointed, conversational humour will have a great time watching Allen and McElroy work their magic.

Even if you’re not up in arms with laughter, the easy-going style and wit will leave you with a smile on your face most of the time. Occasionally the jokes fall flat, but they are capable of rescuing the situation before the quality truly nosedives. Allen’s self-made clips always come at the right time, and often get the biggest laughs. Their experience as comics is on full display.

Sometimes silly, always political, and a chance to switch your brain off, Comics Solving Problems doesn’t have any especially piercing quality but then perhaps it doesn’t need to. This show is more than good enough to keep you smiling and the likeable pairing of Allen and McElroy steer themselves capably through a solid comedy set.

 

Comics Solving Problems is available to watch live every Tuesday and Thursday here (previous shows are also available)