Gary Delaney: Gagster's Paradise (3 stars)

This article is from 2018.

Gary Delaney: Gagster's Paradise

credit: Andy Hollingworth

An impressive barrage of quickfire jokes that only occasionally dips in quality

While it's not unknown to catch a stand-up chuckling at their own jokes, Gary Delaney cheerfully succumbs to his in a way that doesn't grate. His enjoyment seems genuine, his flow at times equal parts one-liners and guffaws. And there's no great mystery as to why he should be having such a good time, because in terms of the gag merchant's craft, his quality and variety are top drawer, deploying all sorts of linguistic tricks and some visual diversions besides.

But he's also a student of comedy, literally gauging audience feedback to some of his latest Christmas lines in a preamble before support act Caimh McDonnell comes on. What's more, and depending on your perspective, the audience is rewarded or subjected to some of his most near-the-knuckle gags at the end, contingent on how many 'oohs' of shock their cheekier predecessors have elicited in the past hour.

Throughout, Delaney treats you to occasional commentary on some gags' construction, which provides a passing insight into his process. But like his darker or dirtier material, it doesn't feel forced so much as exploring the form. Not that he'd entertain such analysis, however, underselling his act as '200 dick jokes and puns'.

The abiding problem for the one-liner comic is how to vary up the rhythm and keep an audience enthralled with such a barrage of short and sharp jokes over an hour. While Delaney largely accomplishes this, not everything lands, however. Commandeering a documentary news report on the impoverished US city of Gary, Indiana, and imagining it actually applies to him is a curiously weak introduction to the show's second half. And some snaps from his life as a touring comic result in smirks rather than belly laughs. Elsewhere, though, a mocked-up range of greeting cards straddles the hilarious line between brutality and juvenility, while his TripAdvisor and Amazon reviews are delightfully silly.

Gary Delaney: Gagster's Paradise is on tour until Saturday 27 April. Seen at The Stand, Glasgow.

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