From the moment Tom Stade steps out in front of the audience, arms aloft, taking in the applause, directing the lighting and casually conversing with audience members, it is clear that this is an accomplished performer. Stade has a natural, born-to-perform aura which is evident from beginning to end.
A regular at the Edinburgh Fringe, Stade has built up a loyal following and has done his research for tonight’s devoted audience, cracking jokes about Livingston and Muirhouse before the show even really gets going. His audience interaction is slick, professional and it is a sign of his stand-up experience that it matters not when he gets unexpected answers from the audience – he just turns those seamlessly into jokes too.
His main fodder for latest show, I Swear To… is the generational divide. Run-of-the-mill stuff it may seem, but somehow incorporating tales from his own life, the realisation that he has crossed over into (gasp) an older generation and tidying up the differences between Millennials and those who gave birth to them is hilarious all the same.
His comedy though is not for the faint-hearted – a lengthy focus on Pornhub and a litany of profanity is perhaps not what you’d want your mother to hear – but somehow his delivery and friendly interaction with the audience make it seem less vulgar and more just his way of storytelling. Certainly the raucous laughter from tonight’s audience would indicate it makes no difference to them.
The show starts at one hundred miles per hour and never really steps on the brake, although perhaps peters out towards the end. Nevertheless, Stade goes full throttle to ensure the packed Stand have a good night. He is an energetic performer whose zeal for his art form is obvious, and his unwavering energy is mirrored by the audience whose laughter never stops, showing just why many keep coming back again and again.