Michael Dolan Gilded Balloon

This is not “feel good” comedy, in fact quite the opposite, as Dolan states his intention that he wants us to leave feeling depressed. From the very outset, Dolan warns us that 4 out of 5 people in the audience won’t appreciate his humour and if we don’t like him he doesn’t care. From the muted reaction of most of the audience throughout the set, he may not be too far from the truth. But the truth also is that he is a funny guy with some very funny and clever material, it just takes a bit of adjusting to get on his wavelength.

Dolan purports to hate everything and everyone, not least himself and no subject transcends his cynical and negative worldview. He rails against the Fringe, against comics, but says it is the only job he can do where he can be who he is. He got married a year ago, and judging from the nocturnal conversations they share about their murderous fantasies, they are well suited. From the stories he recounts of his parents and of his Catholic upbringing, you begin to see where his motivation, or lack of it, comes from. He feels cheated by his youth – when he was growing up he was promised a nuclear war but it never materialised. Death fascinates him, the only benefit to marriage that he can see is that one of them will die first and whoever is left will be miserable. He reckons 75 is the best age to go, he doesn’t want to live to 150 and be old and mad. One story leads him off onto another and there is always a twist, something to throw you slightly off kilter.

It’s not humour like Jerry Sadowitz whose invective takes no prisoners and hits you like a tank. This feels strangely more gentle and more directed at himself – he would probably hate me for saying that though. I think he is one to watch for the future even though he doesn’t believe he or mankind has one.

Irene Brownlee