Being a late-starter to comedy appears to be exactly what makes Alfie Moore a good comedian
AlfieMoore has lived a real life. Or, in fact, several real lives. Rather than serving an apprenticeship in the rarified corridors of the BBC’s comedy department or launching immediately into a career in stand-up, the Yorkshireman started out as a steelworker before spending 18 years as a policeman.
The sergeant-son of a gambler and an alcoholic, who went on to walk the beat on the streets of Scunthorpe, is now on a career break and using it to explore his frailties and failures.
In Viva Alf’s Vegas, Moore has put together a show based on his addiction to gambling, its destructive effect on his family life, and the bond with his eponymous late father, who lived in hope, albeit vainly, of seeing the ageing Elvis Presley perform in Las Vegas in the 1970s.
It is a reflective follow-up to Moore’s Fringe hit last year, the police-inspired I Predicted a Riot, and plays well in a small venue. Moore’s memories deserve a bigger stage – although he played remarkably well off an audience of just 11 people on the night London is Funny was there – and he opened up about his former dependency on gambling, its contribution to the break up of his marriage, and how his addiction developed from placing wagers on horses as a teenager to all-night spread-betting sessions on global financial markets.
It is sombre stuff but it is still funny. There’s wordplay aplenty – “my wife bought me a book on addictive behaviour, I couldn’t put it down” – to sending up the image of the plain-speaking policeman, whose attitude towards the public he summarises as “if they abuse the rules, they should get a second chance; if they abuse the second chance, then shoot ’em”.
Moore only came to comedy in his forties, and his act is more substantial for it. Many of his jibes about the political decisions behind policing, and Britain’s growing gambling industry, ring true because of his own experiences.
Moore’s is not the funniest show at the Fringe, but its mix of painful stories, gags and well-placed barbs at authority figures, makes it memorable and – as he would surely put it – worth a roll of the dice.
Review written by Peter Edwards
• Alfie Moore – Viva Alf’s Vegas is at 9.50pm at Pleasance Courtyard