Yeah! Ladies and gents we have a star in the making. Alex Edelman is your classic east coast bookish liberal, and this particular one has big eyes and boyish, floppy hair, and is far friendlier than his moody poster suggests. He is pacing up and down the stage, in control of his material, and in control of the room. (It’s funny how many American stand-ups do that back and forth, and it works – you know who’s boss. The utter conviction of his delivery only hammers the point home.)
As debut shows go, this one really marks its author out as a class act. And as debuts go, it’s refreshingly light on the self-obsession. Sure, it’s about his participation in a study to show whether he is sufficiently of the “millennial” generation, but Edelman, 25, is smart (though not irritatingly precocious) and outward-looking enough to put this in the context of his fellow millenials, and the “greatest generation” that fought in world war two.
It’s a loose thread that ties in some pretty spurious bits of material, such as his arguments with Blackberry customer service, and an argument in a vegan cupcake shop (I think he likes getting into arguments), but that’s another trick of the trade that Edelman has nailed – crafting a cohesive, seamless hour out of fragmented bits of material. And then delivering it like it’s the first time he’s spoken these words, even if some of the routines are a few years old (a perfectly legitimate thing to do in a first show).
Photos on a projector are used sparingly, and flash up for the bare minimum amount of time required; more evidence that this is a slick, honed show, underpinned by the sort of rigour will stand Edelman in good stead.
But the most striking thing about Edelman is how effortless he makes it look, in the same vein as Rory Scovil or Jerry Seinfeld, only with the punchy assertiveness of Lenny Bruce.
His political evangelism (Obama, obviously) and his routine on gay marriage were particularly interesting and I hope we get more of that in future shows. The show peters out in the final 15 minutes, and it deserves a better closing routine than the one on him intervening in a break-up conversation, but I’ve seen enough to think he can go as far as he likes.
Review by Paul Fleckney