Scottish Comedian Of The Year Final (3 stars)

Scottish Comedian Of The Year Final

Stephen Buchanan with his prize alongside compere Scott Agnew and the valiant runners-up / credit: Clark James

A showcase of new Scottish comedy manages to be entertaining against the odds

After scooping the BBC New Comedy Award recently, Stephen Buchanan has swiftly followed it up to be crowned Scottish Comedian Of The Year in his third final, triumphing at a lacklustre event. The diminutive Glaswegian soon endears with his small-man material but throws in a few surprises as he explores the perils of dating.

Still living with parents and being a loser in love were recurring themes across the bill, but Buchanan has an intriguing twist on this domestic set-up, as he reflects on the peculiarities of he and his mother housing a refugee. Countering preconceptions while refraining from virtue signalling, his was an assured, impressive set.

In its 12-year history, the SCOTY has never played to such a desperately small crowd. Compere Scott Agnew, a former winner of the contest, hosted the night like it was a sinking ship, grinding out some big gallows laughs from running it down. But it was hardly the ideal environment for anyone to shine. And Allan Park managed barely two minutes on stage before throwing in the towel, blaming the previous night's excess.

Lanky, angular oddball Donald Alexander finished runner-up, the sometime teacher having split the judges with his David Byrne-like physicality and casual insensitivity towards his nine-year-old charges. His consciously eccentric style is more notable than his writing but he made an undoubted impression. Running him close in third was Ross Leslie, standing out as the family man with a wry take on having four sons and a recent vasectomy. The second half of his set, about his disinterest in porn didn't quite match the easy flow and solid gag rate of his opening, but it was easily strong enough for a podium finish. Elsewhere, Paul McDaniel's ironic braggadocio won favour, despite his paucity of material, and Marc Jennings had some canny observations on the etiquette of the morning-after pill.

Seen at The Rotunda Comedy Club, Glasgow.

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