After winning TV network Dave’s “Funniest Joke of the Fringe 2018”, and seeming to court controversy after the fact due to the age of the joke, Adam Rowe’s stand up show Undeniable has become one of the hottest tickets of the Fringe.
And it’s not something that the Liverpool comedian seems entirely comfortable with. Indeed, the very accolade goes to change the entire vibe of the show, with eager crowd members heckling for him to tell a joke they already know, which is met less with laughter, and more of appreciation and applause – for a joke that isn’t really that masterful anyway. As Adam points out, “it’s not even the best joke in this show!”. And he’s not wrong.
Watch the joke here for yourself:
It’s hard to review a show after this has happened, because the delivery has changed as has the expectations. So the show I’m watching today may not be the one he intended. Indeed, the show I saw feels like one that’s rough around the edges, that needs to be tightened and doesn’t end as strongly as it could with the seemingly unnecessary “I’m a great liar” segueway.
But there’s some fantastic lines and stories in the show, and I enjoy the way he delivers his jokes. He’s a strong comedian with a great sense of timing and delivery.
Opening with addressing his lazy eye, he manages to weave that back into the show well, and the way he explains the reason is girlfriend is “not the one” (but rather more “the fourth”) as a good thing is entertaining to say the least. A deeply personal show, if you’re to believe a word of it, Rowe reflects on about growing up in the tough side of Liverpool, which taught him a lesson he wants to pass along to everyone else in the room: “Don’t argue with someone you couldn’t beat in a fight.”
His comments on having said certain things when he was younger that might come and bite him in the arse years later, reflected the fears of many comedians now who I’m sure are ashamed of some of their early routines. He argued that by focusing on what people did or said in the past, you were ridding anyone the possibility of growth, change or redemption – and he detailed how because of the way he was brought up, he thinks he was once racist, sexist and homophobic, but now would argue the opposite as he’s grown as a person. It’s an argument worth listening to in the current climate.
Though rough around the edges, and with an ending that needs a bit of work, I found plenty of laughter throughout it, and “best joke” or not, Rowe undeniably cements his status as a comedian to watch.
THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Adam Rowe’s Edinburgh Fringe show Undeniable has its final performances today at Just the Tonic at The Caves – Just the Big Room. For more details, head to the official Fringe website. For more on the comedian, and to find out where he’s playing next, head to his official website.
The reviewer attended the performance on August 23rd.