Four years ago, Alexei Sayle returned to the Fringe after a seventeen year hiatus from stand-up comedy. It was an exciting time to witness a comedic legend return and perform to new generations who would have missed him. Likewise, the first ever festival run by American political comic Barry Crimmins is a bit of a Fringe honour to have a legend like himself perform, not only as an inspirational comic, but as someone who fought against internet service providers for providing an un-policed platform for the trade of pornographic images of children, as documented in the documentary Call Me Lucky.
At sixty four, I can feel pretty forgiving that he starts a bit slow and even reading off notes. It doesn’t appear he’s come with a tight hour dedicated for an Edinburgh run and he’s maybe underestimated the level of knowledge we have of American politics. But when he is in his stride, you come to witness why he is a comic of legendary status. Whether it is satirising craft ale, newbie comics asking for advice or just ripping through the new American administration, he’s sharper and cuts deeper than most and it’s effortlessly funny. He’s not afraid to break his set and drop the comedy for to deliver a message that has great poignancy regarding the need to save the NHS or how we’ve never evolved as a society by listening to the victims of the past. And it’s more than worth listening to, as he’s not only someone who has made a difference in comedy, he’s made a real difference to peoples’ lives. Crimmins’ jokes he could be the oldest best newcomer Edinburgh has had yet, but you could reward yourself and seeing him before the Fringe is over.