After a successful Fringe stint, the neurotic comedian returns
Simon Amstell is gifted. Gifted with the sort of comedy head-start that many aspiring stand-ups would swap vital organs for, that is. As a Jewish, gay, hapless, neurotic, slender whippet of a thing, with a tendency to stalk famous people he fancies, his routines must virtually write themselves. Add to that the fact that he has a background of TV work that has seen him interviewing glaikit pop puppets (on Channel 4’s Popworld) and hosting sarcastic celebrity panel shows for a living (on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, which he gave up presenting earlier this year), and he must surely have several decades’ worth of good-to-go comedy material at his fingertips.
Do Nothing, his very well-received Fringe show from this summer, does tap into his Jewishness, his gayness, and his obsession with Jared Leto lookalikes, plus the odd anecdote about famous people he happens to have met: ‘If I can be in a room with Keanu Reeves, then nothing is real any more.’ But mostly, his routine is just the very articulate, cerebral ramblings of a nerd, with the usual hang-ups about being good, being cool and being attractive to the people he finds attractive.
For those who didn’t catch the show back in August, it’s a chance to see what happens when the pop bitch drops his guard, and exposes his more sensitive, paranoid side. It will also explain why his dear old grandma is nothing but ‘an inauthentic sycophant’. Let’s just hope, for comedy’s sake, he never actually cottons on to how gifted he actually is.
Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, Sun 1 Nov; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 3 Nov