“Aaaaargh! It’s the One-Liner Show” at the Dropkick Murphys (a cool sports bar under the city’s tourist heart) is a chance to see a line-up of quick-witted comedians with carefully crafted one-liner routines.
You have a rough idea of what to expect, but each session is different.
DISCLAIMER: Although Edinburgh Reviews are supporting PBH’s Free Fringe with an ad in the ‘wee blue book’, we are reviewing shows from both Laughing Horse and PBH’s Free Fringe, all of which will be reviewed fairly and without bias.
You know you’ll likely get an excellent comedy session when the show host is the current holder of “Best Joke of the Fringe”.
Masai won that title last year, but he’s won it before and clearly isn’t a one-line, one-hit-wonder. We get a little flavour of this hardworking comedian’s routine as he warms up the crowd, and the whole-hour show is worth it just for that.
Fortunately, on my trip “Aaaaargh! It’s the One-Liner Show” there wasn’t a weak link in the chain.
A bodybuilder? A tech bro with a life tips TikTok account? I had no idea what to expect when Ryan took the stage because he’s a physically imposing man, but it didn’t matter as he had me laughing in mere moments.
The American makes some cultural jokes and helps Brits understand the dangerous phenomenon that is Trump – imagine if BoJo was also Prince Andrew. I heard the audience mutter in realised agreement with that one.
Next year, perhaps if a gap opens in my ambitious schedule for this year, I’ll go see Adele Cliff. She’s naughty, geeky and very funny.
Plenty of sex jokes and a healthy dose of pop culture create a perfect mix of one-liners. I’m not surprised to discover that Cliff holds an impressive number of Top 10 Jokes of the Fringe.
Well, I say that in hindsight. If I had bumped into Cliff in almost any other circumstance, I would have wrongly assumed she was someone from my local tabletop gaming club. Now, instead, she’s someone I think the gamers should go see.
I enjoyed Philip Simon’s one-liners; he flipped the show format as it had gone so far. Until this stand-up stood up, we’d gotten the quick-fire one-liners out first, and then the comedians seemed to slip back into material that needed the crowd a little warmer or for which they seemed to be more comfortable and practised.
Simon did it the other way around; he started with the casual talk – still funny as heck – then fished out his phone to test some new material on us. I had no objections and with all this introductory banter about ‘best joke of the Fringe’, I was beginning to wonder if we had several contenders performing for us in Dropkick Murphey’s today.
Interestingly, Philip Simon said his own shows are more conversational than one-liners. Clearly a man of talent
A Fringe veteran but not a comedian I’d seen before. I got flyers for pretty much everyone else at the end of “Aaaaargh! It’s the One-Liner Show”, but not for Mcguire. This was not because I didn’t care, but because he didn’t hang around, and I couldn’t find any. There’s no suggestion Billy was phoning it in, but I do suspect he was drawing on a back catalogue rather than testing new material on the crowd.
I thought Billy got stronger as he went on. The start of the short set certainly had some technical problems when he hiked the microphone forward to stand nearer to the audience and disrupted the audio. The battle with the microphone cord was a recurring mini-drama throughout the set.
Fortunately, I had a horrible minute of concern when I thought we were going to be subject to some defiantly old-school punching-down jokes, but that was just the initial audio troubles causing me to mishear; as Billy continued on, he won around the crowd.
Gulp! An east-end hard man marched up to the front of the audience and scowled at us. A gangster. A Phil Mitchell character with a grim and dated outlook – and Mad Ron stayed in character the whole time.
Mad Ron is a parody, but people like him are probably out there in real life, and that’s an unhappy thought. As a parody, Mad Ron works well, highlighting certain niche crowds’ poorly thought-out (if at all) attitudes.
A huge benefit of compilation shows like “Aaaaargh! It’s the One-Liner Show” is that you get exposure to acts like Mad Ron you might not have found otherwise. I’m certain I wouldn’t have previously even stopped to read his listing; next time, I might.
Lovell is a muscled fellow! I found his bio while checking the spelling of his name, and he’s a former champion. What a burly lineup!
However, in contrast to the intimidating Mad Ron, Lovell sounds sweet, lovely and considered. In softly spoken sentences, this young man talks about dating, raising a baby and hiding bodies.
In hindsight, but only in retrospect, Lovell’s routine was not so much about the one-liners and much more discursive. That he held my attention, and I didn’t notice until after, is a testament to his skill. There were also one-liners; it’s just in comparison to the others.
Ridge made a brief appearance, much shorter than anyone else and with a set of one-liners about being made redundant.
I suspect this was a bonus inclusion or a brace sacrifice of time to stop Aaaaargh! It’s the One-Liner Show running over. However, if this were Lee testing materials, I’d suggest it was a success.
Rodger Swift had to go last, as who could follow this goofball? He waded onto the stage in a coat covered with fruit (an apple mac) and with tins of beans as glasses (Heinz sight) and launched into a rapid-fire series of visual gags.
There are apologies and anger too. “I know the jokes are awful!” snaps Rodger (they’re not) “Just lean into them!” he demands (I was!). “Fck you!”, he bites (Oh, man, calm; I’m here for this material). It’s part of the show. Right?
I’m sure charisma is the wrong word for this talent. Swift has a force of personality, and he uses it like a rocket engine attached to a ship of puns and gags comedically stuck together with gaffer tape and silly string.
I enjoyed Aaaaargh! It’s the One-Liner Show, and I took the hits with the misses in the spirit of the event. If you know you’re a fan of the quick-fire or the one-liners, then absolutely this is a Fringe encounter for you.