“This show only works if you live in New York and are Jewish”, warns New York comic Alex Edelman, as he brings his third fringe show Just For Us to a packed Cabaret Bar in Edinburgh. But being neither, it’s fair to say that these warnings prove unfounded; Just For Us delivering one of the most memorable stand up performances I saw at the Fringe this year.
Past reviews have commented on Edelman’s ability to capture the experience of the Generation Y, particularly in the Trump era. And they’re not wrong. Starting off with a couple of silly jokes, with his original intent to be to deliver many of them throughout the show (though somehow I doubt this), he commented on how his comedian friend in New York asked him how he was going to use the show as an opportunity to comment on the Trump era in America. He admitted he was not a political comedian, and so he took a surprising path through his own experiences in a time where Nazis are once again coming out of the shadows. The approach was nothing short of genius.
Working as a writer with the likes of Stephen Fry, it’s no surprise the show was well written. Edelman masterfully weaved a story about going to a Nazi meeting (where he surprised himself by wanting to belong even there), in with stories of working with Steven fry on the BAFTAs, anti-semites on Twitter, his idol Robin Williams’ relationship with Koko the Gorilla and many of his other experiences or observations.
He used the show as an opportunity to dissect white privilege and his experience as a young Jewish man living in America, while sliding in the silly one liners he promised at the outset. It all combines into a performance that is witty, insightful, hilarious and occasionally emotional. Incredibly well written, with stellar stage presence, Edelman is the comic to watch on the international stage.
Honestly, it’s one of the finest hours of comedy I’ve ever seen. And not to spoil anything, but the puzzle piece? Pure brilliance. Don’t miss this show as it continues to tour beyond the Edinburgh Fringe.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Alex Edelman‘s Edinburgh Fringe show Just For Us has its final performances tonight the 26th of August at Pleasance Courtyard – Cabaret Bar. For tickets and more details, head to the official website.
He’ll be taking to show to the Soho Theatre in London next month from September 11th to the 22nd.
The reviewer attended the performance on August 24th.