Review: Tony Jameson and Dan Wright present…The Social Anxiety Network – Espionage, Edinburgh.
Tony Jameson kicked off the Social Anxiety Network with what he does best: working a crowd from scratch. With a bucket load of enthusiasm and high energy patter with the audience in the shadowy Kasbar, he got things off to a strong start with some effective compering.
Likewise, Dan Wright, the second member of this double-header, is confident enough to win over a crowd and worked the punters to good effect early on; however his prepared material was at best ‘safe’ and at worst lacked originality.
Material on the irritating use of words such as literally, mental and random, gingers being an ethnic minority and jokes about people being insensitive to skinny men, are so commonplace that I’ve already heard similar pieces of material many times this August. They’re cliché subjects and safe observations, and it’s difficult to see what sets Wright apart from dozens of other average acts on the circuit.
His set did have some nice touches, including an entertaining section on advice from page 3 girls and a more risqué routine about inappropriate uses of the word brave, which both proved that a move away from his more safe material might pay dividends. Wright also employed some nice call-backs throughout his set about notes left by his dad; however these were spoiled by their overuse in increasingly contrived situations.
Left to wrap up Social Anxiety Network was Tony Jameson, who returned with the same energy and rapport with the crowd – this was his to romp home. However he fell down in very much the same way as Wright. I’ve heard numerous routines from North East comics about saying words like ‘guacamole’ in their natural accent, denouncing ‘Geordie Shore’ using tired stereotypes of impoverished and lower classes, and disparaging (insert local name place) for being less affluent and therefore full of inbred slags and so on and so forth.
This was such a disappointment as, at times, Jameson displayed a flair for taking commonplace topics and finding an interesting angle on it. His routines on being a dedicated Football Manager player and dealing with dying on stage were both funny and well observed. But while Jameson is certainly a capable compere, he’s very much a case of personality triumphing over material.
Tony Jameson and Dan Wright perform with confidence and slickness – and the audience seemed to enjoy them – but you can’t help but feel let down by unremarkable material from two fairly experienced circuit acts.
Date of live review: Thursday 18th August 2011