Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist Ross Leslie brings his first full hour of comedy to the Fringe, a mildly amusing set including gags about fatherhood, the trials of being in a long-term relationship, and having a vasectomy a couple of days after the birth of his fourth child. If vasectomy gags aren’t your bag, you may want to skip the first seven minutes of the comedian’s set which is testicle heavy.
A lot of Leslie’s routine relies on the audience knowing areas of Scotland and the reputation of the people who live there. If you’re an out-of-towner and don’t know Dalgety Bay from Duddingston, the jokes may go over your head. This set works on the Scottish club circuit but it can be quite alienating to a non-native audience to rely so heavily on local knowledge.
You’d imagine that there’s a lot of comedic anecdotes to be gleaned from a father of four, with kids varying in age from five to 21, but Leslie is keen not to exploit his children for cheap laughs now that they’re old enough to appreciate what their dad does for a living (maybe stand-ups who deploy the well worn ‘kids do the funniest things’ bit should take note).
The stand-up has some good observations on life – yes, people who wear lanyards get away with murder and making small talk can be horrific but the show feels like 45 minutes stretched into an hour. Pretty Shy for A White Guy veers into serious territory at times – including an autism diagnosis, which explains the show title and the on-stage mannerisms of the performer. Bursts of laughs are followed by lulls as stories ramble on longer than necessary and the show lacks any kind of structure. Leslie’s brand of comedy feels suited to a well-oiled late night audience and he seems a bit out of place in this lunchtime slot.