In recent years, the Fringe has become increasingly dominated by comedy. And the Fringe’s Comedy strand is dominated by established names and Fringe regulars. Once an only imagine how difficult it must be to enter this melee as a young comedian without a string of awards and a constellation of stars under your belt. After all, who is going to risk buying a ticket for someone they’ve never seen on telly?
Of course, the consequence of this is that when one does see a comedian who is a relative unknown, and when that comedian offers material that is original and indeed funny, it feels like a terribly exciting discovery. Enter Michael Workman, who took Best Newcomer Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival earlier this year but is appearing on the Fringe (in the aptly named “Wee Room” at the Gilded Balloon) for the first time.
‘Humans Are Beautiful’ is an existentialist comedy show which tells the story of Workman’s long walk into a war zone with only a dog and an art student for company. In Workman’s hands, this is much funnier than the premise sounds. It is also enlightening – if you ever wondered why dogs chase their tails or what the difference between a goth and an emo actually is, Workman has the answers to these and many other questions.
This is surreal, but not self-consciously so. It is intelligent, but not intellectual to the point of inaccessibility. It is bitter sweet, but ultimately uplifting. ‘Humans Are Beautiful’ may be the most philosophical comedy you will see on the Fringe – but it’s also very, very funny indeed.
3-28 Aug (not 15) 2245 (2345) @ Gilded Balloon Teviot