Originally published in Buzzcuts
Playing to a crowd of thirteen, Larry Dean starts his show as nonchalantly as possible. No one announces him, no one says a word. If you didn’t know who he was you might think a stranger had wandered in and just started talking into the mic. That’s because Dean isn’t playing the Garden, or 100+ crowds. His show is as intimate as they come. Staged at Sugar, the vast emptiness of the club makes this a seemingly impossible feat. But none of this matters. Dean is resilient, battling against the odds to create a wholly unique, funny comedy show.
For anyone familiar with Glaswegian comedy, then Dean’s style should come as no surprise. He has a laddish manner, revelling in the roughness and exoticism (to us) of his Scottish accent. This roughness extends to his jokes—don’t expect him to hold back when describing his first sexual encounter.
The oddness of this particular story comes in two parts. Firstly, for the method Dean uses to (ahem) excite his female partner. Secondly, because Dean is gay, if the title of the show didn’t already give it away. He explores his coming out at 24, bravely making fun of the unequal responses from his friends (fine with it) and family (flatly refusing it).
On the whole Dean’s comedy is funny, as he rattles through jokes about Hindley Street, a Catholic upbringing and his total failure at being a gay man, that is if your perception of homosexuality has been shaped by Will and Grace. There are, though, a couple of uncomfortable priest/paedophile jokes that didn’t sit right. Fortunately, he also shows an acute awareness of the current political climate, both in the UK and Australia, which is missing from too many white male comedian’s routines.
The intimate nature actually lends this show an aura of cosy friendship. Dean regularly chats with his audience, creating jokes out of awkward interactions. It’s so relaxed it almost takes on the air of a group of friends meeting up. Dean turns the difficulties of being a small comic in a small city to his advantage. He puts in a lot of effort, and it shows. Dean is a fantastic comic.
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