Lorenzo Pacitti

Edinburgh Fringe review: Dan Nightingale Is Trying His Best Not To Be A Dick

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Outside the door of the venue, in front of the queuing audience, Dan Nightingale finishes putting together an electric fan.

We quickly learn from Nightingale that this fan is about to save his Edinburgh run. Equipped with his new spinning friend and a pair of shorts, Nightingale is in a buoyant mood as his opening week of sweaty hell in this sweatbox of a venue is finally over.

It’s clearly had a positive effect on his performance, as he seems to be really enjoying himself and is completely comfortable on stage. This translates to a warm audience reception and a great atmosphere in the venue as Dan gets to telling us all about his life.

Nightingale’s comedy is always relatable even when it’s a little obscene and left-field. Jokes about his dad, exercising and relationships are regularly tread ground for comedians, but the material doesn’t feel tired or stale. This is mostly thanks to Dan’s openness, allowing him to offer a unique take on these subjects we may have heard plenty from before.

Nightingale tells us that his influences are the Def Jam black comics of the 90s, and often we witness him break out of his Lancastrian tone into a burst of Bernie Mac like exclamation post sentence, or to hammer home a punch line. The audience laps this up and it is genuinely funny to witness the juxtaposition of the man on stage and the burst of noise that comes from his mouth in these moments.

His material isn’t ground breaking, but his self-deprecating humour and the elements of modern life he chooses to poke fun at are certainly crowd-pleasers, and he handles them very well. Sometimes he lingers too long on a description, or a punch line that wasn’t getting the laugh he wanted – an element of “had to be there” creeps in in these moments – but they are few and far between.

If Nightingale can be a bit more ruthless with material that doesn’t quite hit the mark, and is more expansive with the routines that do, he could be on to a winner here.


Date of live review: 7 August 2014 @ Pleasance Dome

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