With August being the month of the Edinburgh Festival, even those of us stuck at home have been introduced to many new comedians through various television and radio shows covering events there. This month’s favourite comedian discovery, Gavin Webster, was one of those who was lucky enough to be able to perform on the TV show, Edinburgh Nights with Sue Perkins, and he did a very good job of it too.
What I liked about watching Gavin Webster’s short set on this Edinburgh variety-style show was the way it had elements to suggest imminent derailment. Webster showed an interesting blend of comfort and mild danger, with a deceptively nonchalant delivery and carefree nature.
In this way, his style is similar to that of Tony Law: he gives the appearance of chaos whilst remaining entirely in control. The audience is lead to believe that he has run out of ideas or that the show hasn’t gone to plan. A mere few minutes into his Edinburgh Nights set, he announced: “I’m beginning to run out of material now,” which is the kind of thing that gets a big laugh but leaves an intriguing sense of anxiety in the air.
Webster is automatically likeable; he is a Geordie man of the people. His accent is wonderful (his own, and his impersonations) and he seems like a genuinely nice guy on stage: relatable and approachable.
Coincidentally, upon deciding that Gavin Webster was to be this month’s Comedian of the Month, my copy of the first edition of Stand & Deliver Mag (a post about of that will be up in the coming weeks) arrived with an article written by him within it. He wrote a brilliant piece about the roles within stand up comedy in today’s society and talked with true passion about a subject close to many of our hearts: genuine, clever comedy. Here, in 2014, we are surrounded by countless comedians: on television, in pubs, at art centres. Some, we follow on Twitter and others we pass in the street. They are everywhere and that is a fantastic thing but it is important that the passion and care for comedy by performers and audiences alike is kept alive.