Venue: Underbelly @ George Square
At 18.45, Tom Stade strides purposefully onto the stage to rapturous applause, before making a joke about his style of comedy not exactly being conducive to an early evening, midweek slot. Every other word is sandwiched between a ‘fuck’, and the family with two children under seven sitting in front of me have to make a quick choice: awkwardly weave through the darkened audience and cause a commotion by letting daylight into the theatre; or stay and hope the kids don’t repeat what’s about to be said to their friends when they return to school in a week. They choose the latter, and while all of Stade’s talk of Welcome Break condom machines and 22-years of blissful, monogamous sex might leave their children scarred for life, it also makes the parents (and the rest of us in the crowd) howl.
To put it simply, Stade is not woke. He has not aged gracefully, nor has he tempered his effing and blinding, and the show is all the better for it. While some of the jokes might make a younger audience cringe at themselves for giggling at something they’d pile on while scrolling Twitter, there’s no doubt they are well crafted. While the comedy is on the edge, it doesn’t really slip off into the sort of thing you’d see being defended to 6 viewers on GB News, a testament to Stade’s talent. Even his teasing banter with certain members of the crowd is couched in the right kind of quick wit, one that makes sure the audience knows Stade considers himself as well as the unfortunate member of the public the butt of the joke.
The Canadian’s ponderings on everything from his adopted country (the UK) to how to age are delivered in his unique bumbling, stoner style, and his outrageous comments about his children are tear-inducing. There are a couple of parts of the show that aren’t quite up to scratch, but these are breezed through quickly, and when the rolling laughter does slow down to a simmer Stade is quick to turn the heat back up with a well-timed quip.
While nothing Stade produces is going to change the world (one of his jokes about Michael Jackson starts off similarly to a Dave Chapelle bit but veers off into its own shockingly hilarious territory), it is a damn good comedy show, performed by a real pro who knows how to work a room – even one as large as this. If you’re easily offended, then this is probably one to miss, but if you’re willing to leave the pseudo-activism online, then prepare to laugh your arse off.
Dates: Daily until the 26th of August (18.45)
Image: Tom Stade