Not one for the cultural tourists, this one. The Yes Bar is packed, and a large proportion of them are friends and relations of the two guys they’re about to see. Local comic of long standing Obie is compering. Everyone’s a “cunt”, especially the gun-slinging hecklers that are coming at him from all quarters. This is a Glasgow gig through and through.
And it’s old school. Lewd, unreconstructed, best served with a few bevvies down the social club of a Friday night. It’d give yon Guardian readers a touch of the vapours. In here though, the crowd are loving it.
McCreadie and Wark, in their late 40s, both only took up stand-up a couple of years back. This gig, subtitled Taking Care of Business is their Comedy Festival debut, and, credit to them, you wouldn’t know it.
Wark, greying beard, bottle-bottom glasses, looks the part. He has the presence. He has a very listenable, sing-song delivery. But, maybe through nerves, he rushes his lines, clinging to the material. Jokes have no breathing room. He seems thrown when two visitors from Derby don’t know who Scottish weather presenter Judith Ralston is, and a wee sidestep for explanation could have brought in some space to the proceedings. It’s mainly manky stuff – diseased bawbags, the aromas of oral sex – gross to most, but it has its audience, if served less hurriedly.
McCreadie, you wonder what took him so long to try stand-up. He fits the mould well and is commanding on the mic. There’s a wee bit of observational stuff (the types of characters you get in high-rises), and some reminiscing about his addiction to Chinese food, but largely it’s old-fashioned joke-telling, old-fashioned to the point of an Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman gag. He too errs on the rank side – you do not want to know what the old ladies did with the suspicious pool of white liquid they found in the lift – but he finds his mark in a warm room here.
McCreadie also has some good material based on his day-job running a luxury dog kennels. In fact, it’s a wonder both men don’t draw more readily from their professions (Wark is a barber), which must be ripe with opportunity. Instead, cheap smut is the go-to, rather than their own lives. There’s scope for them to stretch their wings, ditch the filth as a comfort blanket.
Thankfully, there’s no-one in here to dob them in to the PC police either, because both men sail close to the wind at points. There’s a totally different set of social mores at play in this set-up, though, and it’s generally well received. Latecomers to the circuit they may be, but they completely cut it as comics. As mid-life crises go, theirs is a very productive one.