Tiernan Douieb’s political awakening, the raison d’etre of his latest show, could not have happened at a more apposite time. Though it started in the spring, its summer airing coincides with a society jolted into asking a lot of questions about itself after the recent riots in England.
While he understands those who take the “ignorance is bliss” route in the face of current affairs, the disappearance of some of his local services and the facile nature of the debate on AV has motivated the ursine jester to get serious and therefore tread a difficult line between politics and punchlines. Much less obviously cute and corny than his previous shows, this latest foray at the Assembly Hall (in the Baillie Room not the 750-seater main hall) leaves less room for frivolity, though he still can’t resist the odd pun.
What he gains in gravitas he risks losing in comedy but—credit where it is due—he, like Josie Long, pins this squirmy proposition down as much as he can and gets the juxtaposition between heavy context and winning punchlines right when it is most needed, most notably using his mum’s take on why the recent riots calmed and how David Cameron calling the rioters “sick” would backfire on the streets.
Big issues have succeeded in making Douieb aim high and perhaps his act may never be the same again.