Simon Brodkin — 100% Brodkin
Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe ★★★✩✩
SIMON BRODKIN has spent his entire comedy career hiding behind masks, most famously as Lee Nelson — his slightly hackneyed cheeky chappy Essex geezer who has scored him some decent TV success.
Latterly, he’s played the role of political prankster. He was the one who waved a P45 at Theresa May at the Conservative Party Conference, threw dollar bills over Sepp Blatter during a corruption-clouded Fifa announcement and interrupted Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort speech by giving out swastika-stamped golf balls.
So who is he behind the curtain? Annoyingly, you never really get to find out. His idea of ‘personal’ is presenting himself as a rubbish dad and a rubbish husband — none of which rings true, because in this tight, slick show all shred of authenticity is sacrificed to service a killer punchline.
It’s a style that would go down well across the pond, and perhaps that will be his next stunt.
But it’s frustrating, because former doctor Brodkin is talented, smart and sharp (particularly when he talks about his Jewish heritage).
And when he’s offering real insight, such as more background to those headline-making pranks in the stronger, more political section of his show, he’s great company. That could have filled up an hour itself — but there’s no Mark Thomas-style expansiveness here.
So full marks for a sky-high gag rate and a delivery that doesn’t miss a beat. But 100 per cent Brodkin? We want our banknotes back.