Forget star ratings – what you need to know is I got there late and I was laughing before I hit my seat. In a small crowd, on a preview night, Brendon Burns didn't do great. But he displayed the confidence and talent which assures me he would do well on a packed-out night, and that's all you need to know if you're the TL;DR kinda person.
But you're not. And I know you're not, because you're currently reading this. So what is Burns all about?
Well, he spends a long time talking about racism, sexism, nationality, accents, privilege, police, and all that guff. And he is one of those male comedians, I should warn you, who swears a lot. Occasionally, he takes breaks to talk about his boners and his rock-hard shits. Because he's classy like that.
It's mostly political, though, and he mostly does a good job of it. I mean, bringing this sort of thing to a festival crowd is tough to pull off – on the one hand, people don't like being confronted with the idea of race or gender privilege when they're just trying to have a laugh. And on the other, there is just as much scope to put-out people on the left.
In his takedown of identity politics, for example, he uses the example of Rachel Dolezal – the white activist and academic who posed as African American and who identifies as 'trans-racial'. The problem is that he treats this aberration as if it is representative of identity politics; as if she actually has defenders. He clearly missed the shitfight that erupted around her when the story broke, the lefty thinkpiece brigade and Black Twitter alike tearing into her like she was leftover pizza. For the amount of treatment he gives her, he might as well have been discussing the freaking otherkin for all the universal relevance.
If you want to know why I'm giving him three and a half stars, though, just scroll right back up to the first paragraph. This is a talented comedian who better understands that of which he speaks than many, many comedians of a similar ilk. And that's something worth checking out.