Bernie Keith proudly states that he may be the least well-known comedian at this year’s Fringe which, considering he’s a radio DJ for BBC Northampton, is him probably being a little hard on himself. That being the case, his difficult timeslot of 8:45pm puts him in a tough competitive spot in that if you’re attending a whole load of shows you may have to forego two acts rather than just one to attend it.
Keith does a fascinating sort of generational comedy which reminds me of Bruce Forsyth – though probably a little ruder. Sadly the day I saw Keith was the same day that Forsyth died and it was perhaps for that reason that audience were a little extra receptive to today’s show.
There is just something wonderfully genuine about Bernie Keith. He wears his vulnerability proudly and like many men who grew up gay in the 70s, has a penchant for whimsical self-deprecation and, as stated before, is overly hard on himself, which helps provide plenty of the laughs. A lot of these laughs come from out of the blue references. For example, a section on how Pride could try to find common ground with the DUP by teaming up to do things that they both enjoy was deliberately ridiculous.
Intrinsic to the show is Keith’s struggle to accept that he is getting older, gay and still single. He also touches on the difficulties he has keeping up with the changes to gay culture as it’s morphed into LGBT+, which I found to be an interesting perspective. I suppose it’s a little like people who still listen to Oasis now and get annoyed about modern music. This all went down well with a predominantly straight crowd and I wondered how well it would work with a more diverse audience.
Elsewhere, his frustration on being constantly asked for his autograph due to his startling resemblance to the Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp, not being able to get Nectar points for orgasms, and trying to learn Tinder and Grindr at his age, kept the decent-sized crowd pleasantly surprised.
Bernie Keith’s Life Without Sat Nav runs until 27th August at the Gilded Balloon Teviot, 20:45.