Ed Gamble: Lawman

Sat 8th – Sun 30th August 2015


Rowena Henley

at 10:15 on 16th Aug 2015



Ed Gamble’s stand up comedy show was one of relatable humour based on engaging content. Discussing topics ranging from the trials and tribulations of living with a chaotic girlfriend to his concept for a new cop drama, Gamble covered a broad array of seemingly mundane subjects and turned them into convincing comedy. Gamble’s routine was precise and polished, which mostly worked in his favour, but detracted from the naturalism of his performance and sense of spontaneity that always guarantees an impressive and memorable stand up show. With only a few moments of unplanned material, Gamble did not display the same talent I have seen amongst his fellow Fringe comedians.

It was Gamble’s overarching theme of rules and regulations that made the show feel a little more stage than stand up. I too often felt that Gamble was adopting a persona rather than genuinely showing us his own. The point felt a little too over-indulged, with the presentation of his law-abiding attitude laid on a very thick.

Gamble’s pacing during his set was highly commendable, and he kept the buzz amongst the audience alive until the final curtain. There was a good variety of jokes and anecdotes with some shorter quips breaking up the long-form skits. The links and connections were very well crafted and executed, allowing the show to have a strong sense of coherence. His constant reference back to his girlfriend’s untidiness, for example, worked well to bring certain elements together. However, this technique acted as yet another indicator of Gamble’s over-preparedness and created an uninspiring sense of routine to the performance. I am, of course, under no illusion that all comedians do not rehearse their material, but in Gamble’s case it felt too central to the performance.

However, this show was not without its ingenuity and hilarity. One of the comedian’s most impressive assets was his perceptive humour when it came to Britishness, a section which showcased Gamble’s ability to engage with one of the current comedy zeitgeists (mainly down to the creation the ‘Very British Problems’ twitter account). His rendition of the age-old game of ‘sorry’ tennis that the British play each time we bump into a passerby or, more strangely, when they bump into us, was (though perhaps a little obvious), hugely entertaining.

Gamble is a very funny guy and thoroughly likeable bloke. His humour would make for an excellent dinner party guest, but not necessarily a brilliant stand up comedian for future Fringes.


Ben Driscoll

at 11:04 on 16th Aug 2015



Ed Gamble is a very polite man. He was very polite before his show, finding seats for late people. He was very polite throughout his show, addressing his audience with respect. His stand-up

material was also very polite. It carried this conscious agreeability in manner and content, and overall it was enjoyable, safe, crowd-pleasing, but nothing exciting.

The name for his show, Lawman, refers to his deep interest in the quiet workings of manners and unspoken rules in Britain. It intrigues him to observe people on the bus putting manners before anything else when getting on and and off. He also revels in the insistence of apologies for doing nothing wrong. Unlike other stand-up comedians, Gamble does not distance himself from his targets. The audience soon learn that he is actually one of the masses, perhaps even more polite, obsessively so.

Gamble’s delivery is as charming as it is endearing, and his observations really hit the nail on the head. He has that perfect voice for coming across as hilariously meek in situations where other people may be wrong. He is not a rule-breaker, and a lot of his comedy is about strictly adhering to these rules or it is about the times when he nearly breaks them, but obviously does not. It’s great, relatable British humour. Though, being a rule-breaker may have helped Gamble’s show along a bit further. The show’s

main loss is its overall rigidity, which is bizarrely initiated by his implications of a list of rules on the audience. Rule 1: They must laugh at everything. Rule 2: Some of the jokes are more intelligent than they seem. It’s awkwardly obvious humour, and the obviousness continues with his observations about the lyrics in Lil Wayne’s music. It is strange, because after delivering the slicker jokes of his repertoire, he decides to remind the audience of Rule 2; ruining the moment.

Gamble’s set has a great direction, and when it comes to the conclusion, he neatly and satisfyinglyties it all up together. However, with his concluding jokes, the whole of his set seems so well thought-out that it becomes slightly unappealing. Gamble appears to not trust himself to leave his set a bit rough around the edges to make mistakes. When he asks the audience to give him an accent to do, someone shouts ‘Geordie’, he then dismissively proceeds to do a cockney accent - never saying why he did not want to do the accent.

Though people still did follow Rule 1 throughout the whole of his set, Gamble’s set was an easy hour. Considering his name, Ed should have, but did not, take a Gamble.


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