Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Michael Odewale wants you to know he’s selfish but he’s trying to be better. Torn between standing up for important social issues and just completing every petition from the comfort of his own bed, the comedian highlights the struggle we all face in wondering if we’re doing enough for society.

#BLACKBEARSMATTER is Odewale’s debut Fringe show, which won Best New Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival earlier this year. Odewale’s star is on the rise, having featured on Comedy Central UK and BBC Radio 4 and you get the feeling from this set that he’s beginning to find his comedic voice.

During his slick and well-polished show, Michael touches on a wide range of issues that he faces in modern society from racism in the porn industry to his frustration at being boxed off as a black man who was raised with an absent father. He delves into his own experiences growing up in Dagenham, London from a brief private school stint to the remainder of his schooling in state education. Each experience making him feel ‘other’ to the majority by either being too black or not enough. Odewale touches on his own experiences and other potentially sensitive subjects with a light touch that lends itself to humorous results.

Although the comedian claims he wants to be more empathetic, you get the feeling that he’s not sure he wants to try too hard just yet. He uses his platform to state some uncomfortable truths for the audience but there are some ideas that feel like they have been done before, and a little better. However, this is a great debut show which by the end will have you thinking about a number of subjects that you wouldn’t expect, including a reimagining of Paddington Bear.