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ED FRINGE REVIEW Ed Gamble, Stampede


Just hours after arriving into Edinburgh, I went to see my first Fringe show of the year, and that was Ed Gamble's Stampede.

When I interviewed Ed last month and asked him to sum up the show in five words he said "Mumford. Fat. Cauliflower. Moisturiser. Pussy." which even he admitted wasn't the best advert for his show. Perhaps not, but it's accurate.

Mumford refers to the fact he went to school with the lead singer of Mumford & Sons and ranks his status of celebrity against who he went to school with. So below the lead singer, but above the keyboard player.

Fat refers to the fact that Ed used to be six stone heavier than he is now and gives him an excuse to lay into lifestyle bloggers - you know the type. Apparently they all recommend to substitute the thing you love for cauliflower.

Which of course brings us onto cauliflower, which isn't your usual topic for a stand-up comedian to tackle, but this doesn't phase Ed as he vents his anger, through humour, about the existence of cauliflower pizza in particular.

Does he go on a bit too much about cauliflower pizza? Perhaps. A very long joke can go one of two ways, it can get funnier and funnier the more the comedian goes on about it, or it can outstay its welcome very quickly, unfortunately after 5 minutes I no longer wanted to hear the word "cauliflower" again but this is something which Ed appreciated and alluded to. But it didn't mean he stopped talking about cauliflower.

Don't get me wrong, there were some great jokes in there such as the fact that graters weren't designed to grate cauliflower, they were designed to grate cheese. Despite obsessing over this topic, it's not the funniest part of his routine.

His observation about words such as "pussy" and "balls" and wanting to subvert their meanings is a real highlight of the show and proves that Ed is a great writer and confident performer. He did then encourage the audience to tweet after the show #PussySoldiers without any explanation... and lo and behold, a quick search on Twitter shows me that people did.

I didn't of course, I didn't have the... pussy. (You'll get it once you see the show)

And finally, moisturiser. This is all about how Ed isn't afraid to say he uses moisturiser... Moisturiser For Men of course. By a brand called Bulldog, which as Ed quite rightly points out, isn't the best advert for wanting clear, wrinkle-free skin. Cue an uncomfortably long reenactment of trying to apply moisturiser to a bulldog without it getting caught in the many creases.

Another highlight for me, was when he went into an impromptu impression of Michael McIntyre (and I saw later on that day, something a lot of comedians are doing this year) and began to appreciate why he paces the stage the way that he does.

Overall, I thought Stampede showed a lot of promise, and was a thoroughly entertaining hour of comedy. There's no doubt that Ed Gamble is a confident performer and Stampede was clearly well rehearsed and his eleven years at the Fringe (eight as a double act) have obviously done him well. You know what they say, practice makes perfect, and he's not quite there yet but he's very close.

I'm sure if he condensed it all down into a slightly shorter set, it'd be a much sharper, wittier routine and less about cauliflower, which he assures us the show isn't about. Although of course it is.

One thing we can agree on though is that Stampede has nothing to do with, and no references to, a stampede



Ed Gamble: Stampede will be on at Gilded Balloon at the Counting House until Monday 29th August at 3:15pm


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