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Scotsman Festival Review

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The Scotsman Festival Review in Edinburgh

A guest review for the performance at the Comedy Room, The Tron

Scotsman Festival review - No, not Dwight Slade’s sub-Jon Bon Jovi hairdo, but the fact that he plays to a crowd of 50 while much lesser comic talents with television exposure play to hundreds. Slade, a contemporary and friend of America’s greatest ever comedian Bill Hicks, deserves a bigger stage and audience.

The congregation - some Hicks’ devotees, some just curious - were treated to a comedy tour de force. Slade blasted through an hour-plus of coruscating comedy, ripped through the heart of suburban dreams, and took a driller to corporate America and its political class.

Often uncomfortable, often challenging, but always funny, Slade took his little guy observations into the very heart and soul of American life. Even when his cultural references occasionally went over the head of his audience, his skills, honed in the sweaty comedy circuit of Houston and LA, took us back to the centre of what his point was.

The Scotsman Festival Review - Quote

"It would be criminal if the rest of Scotland didn’t share in his comic genius."

Riffing from Hicks on occasion, Slade’s pinpoint ac-curacy on the absurdity of the American dream had the audience captured as he stripped bare the consumerism of the Wal-Mart and the Starbucks coffee culture. His observation about morning coffee obsessives even had the glamorous young couple nearby in near convulsions.

Slade’s range of targets was rarely missed as he mused over Bush and America’s role in the world, and his take on how he would be a "benign tyrant" is unmissable. Never again will you be able to see a pierced tongue without his vivid image in your head.

His crash-and-burn finale and take on dangerous driving stunned the audience, and as we faded away I asked Dwight if he will come back. "Well, if Scotland’s minister of culture can help me …”

It would be criminal if the rest of Scotland didn’t share in his comic genius. If there’s a promoter out there who believes in the sacredness of pure stand-up comedy they should invite him back. Dwight deserves it, and Scotland deserves it more.

The Scotsman Festival Review
Article originally printed on SATURDAY, 23 AUGUST 2003