‘Perfectly Inadequate’ is a brave title for an Edinburgh show. Thankfully, the name doesn’t reflect the quality of the stand-up. It has more to do with Ryan’s overwhelming lack of self-esteem, which is one of the big themes of this year’s show. Well, it comes up a few times, usually when Ryan makes a mistake and can’t prevent himself from pointing out the flaws in his performance. In fact, most of the hour is made up of funny stories involving his parents, ex-girlfriends and the occasional police officer.
It’s a fairly straightforward hour of stand-up, by a very funny person with a great sense of delivery. There’s a dark streak to Ryan, though. There were frequent gags that warranted an almost-disapproving “oooh” from the audience, but Ryan never takes it too far. The gags that made the crowd laugh the most tended to come when Ryan went off-script, or mucked up the joke. It was a pure hit of self-deprecation. Maybe he meant to muck up the joke, leading to some inspired improvisations. As he points out, we’ll never know for certain.
It’s a solid hour that’s sure to get better as his Edinburgh run progresses. Ryan is funny, genuine, and a fine storyteller. Definitely a name to look out for.