Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Chris Betts: Social Animal, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson
Graduating from bartender to stand-up involves retaining plenty of the same skills: acute observation of people and knowing how to cope with rowdy groups. Chris Betts’ solid premise for his appealing debut is that bars bring out the best and worst in humanity. And he has a finely calibrated eye for such wildlife – from the mating dances, to the fists flying, to the poetic humour scrawled across toilet cubicles.
The Canadian émigré has poured pints all over Britain and delivers a waggish impression of our lingering national pride in our once great Empire. But he offers much more than an outsider’s perspective. He may have started out a shy, retiring type, inept with women. But he’s a fully committed social animal now and his strongest suit is advancing initially contentious statements, such as fights affording better conflict resolution than arguments, then persuading, or at least delighting you, with his drolly original reasoning. Of course, there are entertaining tales of nightmare hen and stag dos. But Betts is accomplished enough to probe deeper, perceptively and wittily exploring the attitudes underlying such phenomena as slut shaming and sexual fetish. An occasional zinging turn of phrase adds polish to this consistently funny introductory hour.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 14 August 2015
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