Maggie May’s, Glasgow, Fri 19 Oct
When Brendon Burns was nine years old, he decided that a career in stand-up comedy was the road he wanted to travel down. While in Texas with his family, he was snuck into a comedy club through its kitchen and watched as one Flip Wilson arrived on stage. ‘He was a black American comic, a very heavy influence on Richard Pryor,’ recalls Burns breathlessly. ‘So, black guy, Texas, 1980, with white guys in Stetsons everywhere. Flip’s opening line to the bandleader was: “if your daddy knew that you worked for a nigger, it’d kill him.” And the whole place was stunned silent because they didn’t know who was the target. They finally realised that the butt of the joke was their prejudice and they then laughed so hard. I remember just being caught in that hang time and thinking that I wanted to do that with my life.’
This August, Australia-born, London-based comic Burns provided Fringe audiences with their Flip Wilson moment during his if.comeddie winning show, So I Suppose THIS Is Offensive Now? It’s a moment that needs to be kept as much under wraps as possible with Burns continuing to perform his award-winning set over the next year, but for now he’s popping this way for two shows in one night as part of his Under Educated European tour.
Having ploughed away as one of the country’s most consistently brash, edgy and thought-provoking stand-ups with shows such as All My Love, All My Rage and Not for Everyone, Burns reaped the rewards of all his toil, with a collective thumbs-up from the Eddies judges. This, though, brings its own pressures. ‘I feel it but in a good way,’ he concedes. ‘If you’re someone who believes that everything in life happens for a reason, I would certainly feel that now. In the past I thought I was owed so much and was embittered about it and I could have turned into a complete arsehole and possibly destroyed myself. But now I’m in the right state of mind, and generally across the board in the industry, people seem genuinely happy for me.’