If his show’s title is to be believed, Stuart Laws doesn’t do things by halves – and the early evidence would suggest he’s telling the truth (at least on that front). As well as the eponymous gambling reference, which does surface in a later anecdote, Laws gives the impression that when he goes for something, he goes large, whether that be Will Smith fandom, deliberately mispronouncing words for comic effect or stand-up comedy. It’s an approach that serves him well over an anecdotally-charged, pun-laden hour of quirky humour.
One of the main pillars of Laws’ show is his big reveal that one lucky member of tonight’s audience will be chosen as the best among us, to join a prize draw alongside candidates selected from all of the other dates in his Fringe run. The prize? $250 (or potentially $500 for those willing to gamble all on the flip of a poker chip). It’s a neat trick to keep the audience onside and bribe them into laughing louder, and at that price one can hardly call it cheap. Despite its gimmicky nature, Laws’ genial persona keeps things playful at all times and the ploy never overshadows the excellent and abundant material he has pre-prepared.
Because abundant it certainly is. Having cobbled together enough jokes and stories for at least three times as many shows, Laws has proven himself to be quite the industrious teacher’s pet. Even if he does confess at the end of the hour that he was forced to forego his strongest section on Christian football teams due to reasons beyond his control, the gags he does fire at us in quick succession are all certainly deserving of a place in the starting eleven. Sure, a riff on banking does seem a little long and make little sense, while the extended and presumably fabricated time he swallowed the toy inside a Kinder egg is another slight drop-off in quality.
All in all, though, it’s a highly solid hour of polished comedy delivered in an assured and affable manner guaranteed to win over all-comers. Best of all, he incorporates plentiful puns, gimmicks and Will Smith references without relying on them in any sense. As such, the safe money would be on Laws to bum-rush the stand-up primetime in the near future. He’s coming, you can’t stop him.