Jim Davidson, Assembly Halls - review: Crude jokes about genitalia and camel toe hail from forgotten era

2.00

Edinburgh Festival 2014: TV presenter makes his Fringe debut 

“I'm much better than you thought, ain't I?” Not better, but Jim Davidson does not seem at all fazed as he makes his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, home of liberal, avant-garde comedy. As he prowls the stage in his baggy, timeshare-seller's suit, lilac tie shining, he looks and sounds at home.

So comfortable is he, that the old Jim keeps peeping through. “I just can't help myself”, he says several times during the hour, often after he has showcased one of his many dubious accents: he does Scottish-Indian, black youth, deaf man, and in one joke - about the face you might pull when walking into a smelly pub toilet - “that fucker from North Korea. The dictator.”

The jokes are crude - genitalia, boozing and fat birds - if technically sound and consummately delivered. There are tales from Frank Carson's dressing room and accounts of trips to “Lidls” where Davidson encounters his least favourite type of person - the “underclass”. “Put it this way”, he says of one of his bugbears. “She looked like someone who hadn't lived in a house without wheels on.”

It all feels like something from another, happily forgotten, era. He will happily joke about the dimensions of an old woman's vagina but when he swears anatomically, he apologises to a lady on the front row.

Later he will mock her “leggings and camel toe” and ask her why she isn't wearing a dress. He will tell at least three stories, with sound effects, about oral sex then use “whoopy-do-do” as a euphemism in a story about Freddie Starr defecating in a guitar. Odd.

Perhaps it's because he's still trying out a “new, soft Jim”. This is stand-up as career-saver and book-shifter. Davidson has just had the best/ worst year of his life, having been arrested for historic sexual offences. The charges were dropped but he now has legal fees to pay and a book to sell.

It results in a middle section which is low on laughs but interesting in its own way as he outlines in detail what it felt like to wake up every day and wonder if Operation Yewtree would pounce. Redemption came via Celebrity Big Brother which he won in January, despite receiving “more nominations than Gone with the Wind” from his housemates. He has a lot of fans. 

At the end, he explains to them that he just wants to be back on stage, “keep plodding on”. The crowd roars; many get to their feet. He bowls out into the lobby to sell some books. Job done.

To 25 August (0131 623 3030)

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk