Edinburgh Review: Keith Farnan

Ben Clover decides Keith Farnan’s show on prejudice is more a lecture than a comedy gig.keith_farnan1Keith Farnan seems like a very nice man but this is the worst thing I saw at the Fringe. I feel bad saying it because the concept behind the show is a noble one.

It works around the theme of racism, and the title, barring the last two words, comes from a sign in the boss’s office at a family restaurant where Farnan once worked.

But it turns out his boss wasn’t a bigot. He had kept the sign his own father had hung up on the window at the height of an earlier recession as a reminder to himself never to go down that path, however bad things got. Farnan has similar hopes for his native Ireland: as a late starter, it can get multi-culturalism right, without the traumas of America or other nations. A fine thing to hope for and describe, but a lecture rather than a comedy show.

The genial Irishman talks very fast and displays a breadth of erudition and the laughs just get trampled underneath. Perhaps he’ll get better as the run goes on but lack of confidence isn’t the problem, lack of jokes is the problem.

Lack of jokes and a preachiness that gets more than a little grating. Plus, some of the gags are jaw-droppingly bad. Normally I wouldn’t quote an act in a review for fear of spoiling it for an audience member, but you won’t miss this.

“All the girls in Ireland are desperate to get married and nailing pints of Guinness to the floor, so when the men kneel down to pick them up the women are standing over them and they shout ‘I do! I do!'”.

Jokes of this calibre don’t buy you any space to preach at all. It’s done with joviality but it’s the kind of thing that would actually sound prejudiced if someone else said it.

Did I mention Farnan is Irish? Because he does a million times in this show. A good 40% of his punchlines spring from the premise “ha-hoy! The Irish!” – not good for an hour claiming to look at prejudice.

He seems like a decent bloke but the jokes-to-facts ratio make this a lecture rather than a comedy gig, and not always a good one.
One star
Keith Farnan – No Blacks. No Jews. No Dogs. No Irish. All Welcome is on at the Underbelly at 6.30 until August 30 (ex

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