Kevin Bridges: Brand New
- Brian Donaldson
- 8 October 2018
The Clydebank stand-up is on the form of his life
Kevin Bridges is the quintessential everyman comic. A crowd-pleasing observational stand-up with gifted storytelling talents, there's an edge to the 31-year-old Clydebanker that is wholly absent in other comedians of his ilk. Despite his elevated fame, he refuses to shamelessly namedrop in the manner of a Micky Flanagan or John Bishop, and he prowls and stalks his stage rather than scampers the life out of it à la Michael McIntyre.
When Bridges does discuss his level of celebrityhood, it's a means of reassuring us that he's still a grounded individual (the line about a gazebo suddenly appearing in his new lavish neighbourhood is a delight). Meanwhile his recollection of being the support act for Barack Obama at his Edinburgh event last year is a means to reposition the lauded former president as just another untrustworthy politico.
There are at least three sections across his show would easily count as many lesser comedians' finest possible moments but are simply part of a package which would make a best-of Bridges collection ever trickier to compile: imagining Trump as a Glaswegian taxi driver proves that there's somehow still some comedic mileage to be had in Obama's successor while his retelling of a school-exam mental block borders on delirium. Even when a lengthier routine lacks killer moments (such as his tale of carpenter Joseph announcing the news of Mary's pregnancy to the other guys on the building site or when his old jack-the-lad pal Craigy becomes the more respectable grown-up Craig), it's still a compelling section which you just know will inevitably lead on to more rewarding material.
Bridges is now notorious as a long-term victim of sustained and unwelcome audience 'participation', and recalls the time he was simply unable to continue a show in Derry on account of an over-zealous punter in the front row. It almost looks like history is repeating itself due to intermittent and obstructive whooping from the upper circle. Despite the interruption stomping all over his closing routine (effectively a wonderfully crafted two-year call-back), he is able to plough on and reward our patience. If this is Kevin Bridges at the peak of his mercurial powers, his incremental decline will still be an absolute joy to observe for some time.
Kevin Bridges: Brand New is on tour until Tuesday 18 December; seen at Edinburgh Playhouse.