Comedy review: Hogmanay Hootfest - The Stand

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Post-Christmas, hoots are the order of the day, and, for the most part, The Stand’s Hogmanay Hootfest delivers, but there’s a sting in the tale.

Hogmanay Hootfest - The Stand

* *

Keir McAllister reprises material from the excellent Fringe show where he and Vladimir McTavish looked at the state of Scotland.

He starts by asking the crowd for their view on independence and gets an apathetic “naw”, leading into some good bits on the whole indyref debate. The other material felt slow compared to the perhaps slightly rushed political stuff.

Vladimir McTavish, like McAllister, starts with a Stewart Lee bit about the celebrities they’ve been mistaken for. He is a tremendous stage presence, although, again, it was the independence material that felt more vital and worth developing than stuff about two-year-old snowstorms, funny as that was.

Bruce Devlin, like the other two Scots, dabbled uncertainly in trying new Jimmy Savile, stuff but actually gave us the angriest, funniest bit of the whole night getting blood out of the comedic stone that is government policy on transfusion.

There is scope for Scottish satire and, as we move towards 2014 and a’ that, it is needed, whichever side you’re on.

As we pondered our uncertain comedy future, Canadian Tom Stade seemed initially like a breath of fresh air, building a fine rapport around trading more traditional vices for a new addiction to the daily e-mail discount shopping offers that we’re all familiar with. Stuff you don’t need, but at such an incredible discount that you feel obliged to buy.

But, around halfway through, there is an odd intervention of such offensive crudity that makes the audience draw breath. Trouble is, that seems to be the sole purpose. Nothing in the following bit redeems it, the promised pay-off does not materialise.

The point of comedy is not to break taboos, but to be funny: everything else is a bonus. Anyway, Christmas is done, enough sermons. Go see Devlin, McAllister and McTavish. Go see Stade, too – he is largely pretty good. But, if you feel like walking out halfway through his spot, go for it: he was asking for it.

• Run ends January 31