Erich McElroy: Radical Centrist

As a queue forms outside Bar 50 (in the canteen area of the Hotel in which it lives), we are greeted and ushered in by Erich McElroy himself. An immediately effervescent character, you can really tell he’s grateful for his audience coming along, and most seem grateful to him in return.

With an instantly positive introduction, McElroy launches straight into his set. He’s a good performer with energetic physicality; I wouldn’t mind betting he takes his inspiration from the late great Robin Williams.

It’s a shame that his script doesn’t quite meet the same mark as his presentation. He is American, but having lived in the UK for over 19 years, it would be weird if he didn’t mention that as I’m sure it’s been an interesting experience for him personally. Unfortunately, the UK vs USA trope has been done to excess. I personally felt McElroy didn’t bring anything new to the table here. His gags on drinking culture, pubs, tea and queuing were tired and lacked imagination. Perhaps if you weren’t a regular purveyor of stand-up comedy, this could be an enjoyable foray into the special relationship’s pain points.

The UK stereotypes section lasted half an hour, and given the show’s runtime of 55 minutes total, it became tedious.

His political comedy, however, I enjoyed. A leftist myself, I may have come to a show named ‘Radical Centrist’ with reservations, but I don’t subscribe to the idea that for a comic to be decent, they must agree with you. Quite the opposite. McElroy understands this and the political punchlines were well-written and entertaining. I felt it was a shame that this only counted for ten minutes of his set, however. 

McElroy certainly has a gift for performance, but could be more inventive and attentive with his script.

★★★

Leila Navabi

Erich McElroy: Radical Centrist 14:15 Laughing Horse Bar 50

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