Review: The Best of Scottish Comedy, The Stand

Scott Agnew
Scott Agnew
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The Stand, with its colourful murals, underground warmth and mish-mash furniture, has the reputation of being one of the best comedy clubs in Scotland.

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Therefore, it doesn’t seem arrogant for the club to run a night that claims to host the best of Scottish comedy. Unfortunately, this show is hardly the best; in fact – despite the best efforts of the fantastic compere – most of the night comes across as bland.

Our host is the self-confessed Glasgow poof Scott Agnew. The comic pulls out all of the stops to keep the audience involved.

Agnew is fantastic both at interacting with the audience and working with material. His sections between sets are islands of brilliance and demonstrate Agnew’s skill at dealing with an audience, building more than serviceable material from the people sitting in front of him. The Glaswegian is loads of fun and infinitely likeable.

Unfortunately, most of the other acts can’t live up to their host. First up is Jim Park, whose comic character either finds himself too funny or simply doesn’t want to be on stage. His set is painfully meandering, unconnected and provokes groans from the audience. The comedian’s delivery is stuttering and filled with his giggles, while his pun-filled punchlines contain far more misses than hits.

The next two acts lift the mood slightly: Sarah Short is an excellent anecdotal comic, who barrels through a run of interlinked, if slightly mundane, stories with fantastic energy and timing. John Ross has similarly well constructed material. Unlike Short however, his delivery is far less engaging. Ross’s lugubrious and dour tone grates after a while and his tendency to jump between subjects can become frustrating.

Finally, the headliner – the inexplicably named Parrot – takes the stage. The seasoned comic brings little new to the table and his material is extremely safe, even including a long bits on drinking and the differences between men and women. His delivery and personality are engaging, but are only enough to raise titters. This is a decent night of Scottish comedy, but far from the best.

Run Ended