Edinburgh 2013: Ardal O'Hanlon - A 47-year-old little boy lost
Ardal O'Hanlon closes his show on a sweet and poignant note as he confesses: "I don't have a big finish. I've never been one for 'fireworks' like some comedians." Having described stand-up as the best way to make sense of the world, it's understandable if the 47-year old little boy lost feels a little deflated in not making the most of it and flatlining.
Between a nervy start and an abortive finish, the Father Ted star supports the theory about his art form with a neat flit around some comedy standards: childhood memories, Catholic guilt, monogamy, political leaders, and over-tanned ladies who "should be sent back to where they came from - the beauty salon."
O'Hanlon can make nifty leaps between seemingly unrelated routines without you noticing that he has done so. The problem is that when he settles on a topic it is not always for long enough to do it justice. Some material, such as his idea that 'the craic' in Ireland comes before political engagement, has a distinct 'just passing through' feel.
Nonetheless his characterisation of his homeland's politics strikes a universal chord ("Irish politicians always look like they have broken something") and an earlier section deriving from Catholic guilt that deals retrospective blows to England and Germany is deftly done: "a few missed penalties" is O'Hanlon's suggested redress for lingering shame about the Second World War.
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