Damian Clark likes to talk. A lot. This might seem an odd thing to say about a comedian, but there’s barely a pause for breath in the Australian’s staccato delivery as he rattles through a jam-packed hour that’s unconcerned with anything other than making his audience laugh. Right from the off, through an observation on the Escher-like topography of Edinburgh, he more than succeeds in his aim.
Extra Show deals mainly with becoming a father for the first time. Even the one digression from this subject, in which he hilariously details a case of misadventure that ends up as a brief prison diary, relates tangentially to the topic. Clark’s clearly taken to parenthood with the same vigour, energy and empathy that he brings to the stage. It’s not ground-breaking by any means, but like Stuart Goldsmith’s exemplary Like I Mean It last year, the quality of the material is such that he gets across the joys, confusion and terror of this new responsibility and hits every comedy beats along the way.
Particularly funny is his attempts to see things from a baby’s point of view. He imagine the constant terror of an infant waking up and having to adjust to new surroundings every time. A moving car, the bars of a crib, a crowded street; all fresh sources of disorientation and over-stimulisation. No wonder they’re always crying. Also covered are other parents with smug advice, why people always ask the weight of a newborn, and how his baby came to have the neck muscles of a wrestler.
Clark has won the Amused Moose People’s Champion award and it’s not difficult to see why. There’s a genuine every man quality to him that makes Extra Show feel like you’re in (admittedly fairly one-sided) conversation with a chatterbox mate than a standup show. He does this partly through picking one person in the front row as a reference point, coming back to them every so often for confirmation or a spot of matey banter, and partly through his stagecraft. His demeanour is always relaxed, unusually so for someone whose standup style is so Gatling-like in its delivery. He’s also a master of the call-back, deftly weaving echoes of previous jokes into other, completely unrelated anecdotes.
There’s a refreshing straightforward and unpretentious sense of fun about Clark that Extra Show exemplifies. There’s no padding or meandering, just a steady stream of great jokes, asides and stories. The pace never dips and nor does the quality. You could easily leave a Damian Clark show sure you’ve made a friend as well as certain you’ve seen an excellent comedian.