David Baddiel: Trolls – Not The Dolls
- Brian Donaldson
- 16 March 2020
This article is from 2020
Entertaining and ultimately hopeful dissection of the pleasures and pitfalls of social media
A two-hour show in which someone alerts us to the crazy things that people say on Twitter might not strike you as being especially vital. But in David Baddiel's Trolls: Not the Dolls, it's more akin to being shown a very funny script in which he delivers punchlines to set-ups handed to him on a plate by a motley (in the main) crew of anonymous individuals.
This being 2020, of course, some of the exchanges Baddiel gets roped into are distinctly unsavoury, and his section on anti-Semitic cage-rattling leaves a sour taste. Still, there's always some comical relief to be had through largely impenetrable interjections by Carlos from Venezuela, a man Baddiel apologised to online for mocking his less than fluent English. He was made to regret this moment of empathy as Carlos started to make jovial comments about almost everything on Baddiel's timeline.
The comic and children's author (you won't believe some of the remarks left under posts of Baddiel posing for photographs with younger readers) answers the question that runs through many minds on hearing of the grief inflicted on individuals within social media: why bother with it? For Baddiel, this is a way of getting jokes out into the public realm (he is a comedian after all) and connecting with those who show the more upbeat and less hated-filled aspects of modern humanity; he shows us instances of positivity and forgiveness that makes ploughing through the bile he regularly encounters just about worthwhile.
As a relatively caustic comedian, Baddiel acknowledges that he's also prone to bouts of behaviour that might be considered trolling, and readily admits to not always occupying the moral high ground. This makes for a varied and thought-provoking show which portrays the good, the bad and the downright ugly that contemporary life has to offer.
David Baddiel: Trolls – Not The Dolls is on tour until Wednesday 6 May. Seen at Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, Edinburgh.