I’ve been reviewing Fringe comedy shows for five years now and this is the bravest one I’ve ever seen. Also, it’s the only one that’s made me cry with laughter. Billed as ‘a hilarious recursive nightmare trapped inside a heart-warming recursive nightmare’, Hanrahan takes stand-up comedy to a whole new level with the frankly insane task of creating brand new show content daily, simply based on what yesterday’s audience thought would be funny. The strangest thing is that it works. Hanrahan is that rare thing: a comedian who makes it look effortless, even while wearing a pair of furry goat legs in an extremely warm meeting room. Camera-shy fringe-goers be warned: he enlists help from the crowd to film the audience as they answer questions about what makes them laugh (and boy, do some people have weird answers to that question. Have you ever asked yourself what makes you laugh? It’s a strangely difficult one to answer). The footage, good bad and ugly, is then used in the following night’s show.
By the time Hanrahan was talking about weddings (by showing a Venn diagram highlighting the crossover between ‘people who like Sisqo’s Thong Song and people who like fruitcake’), I’d decided this was my favourite comedy show in the fringe this year. When asked ‘what makes you laugh?’, the suggestions from the audience on my night included ‘lube’, ‘people who go to the gym too much and get thick necks’, and ‘Enya’, so I’m tempted to get back in there tomorrow and see what Hanrahan makes out of those suggestions.
Richard Hanrahan Is Doing This is genre-bending stuff with heavy audience interaction, which actually asks thought-provoking questions about what comedy is; what makes us laugh and why. Hanrahan has made life hard for himself with this format, but the show is a joy: he is a very funny man.
Properly hilarious multi-media mayhem. Don’t miss it.
Richard Hanrahan Is Doing This, Just the Tonic at the Grassmarket Centre, Just the Meeting Room (venue 27), Aug 9-12, 14-26, 20.30 (55 minutes)