★ ★ ★ ★
Confident, competent and clear on his comedic voice.
Travis Jay has been performing comedy for 10 years and that experience shines through with confidence in his debut Edinburgh hour, Funny, Petty, Cool which he delivers with an energy befitting a room much larger than his.
He begins with a tale about climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh and how no one on his Instagram commented him on his achievement - however when he confuses a seagull for a duck on Instagram, people were then quick to comment!
It was early on in the set when Travis really impressed me with material which he could only have written a few hours prior to the show beginning (2:35pm) as it related to that same morning's news story about a government campaign to carry warnings about the dangers of carrying a knife in chicken shop boxes.
Comedians spend months writing their Edinburgh hours, playing them to small audiences at work-in-progress gigs so that when they take the show to Edinburgh it's in the best shape it can be. Routines are locked down, jokes are finessed and the structure finalised so when someone adds new material which is super topical, of the moment and crucially very funny, it's to be admired.
It wasn't a throwaway quip either, it was a full routine with jokes, purpose and impressions that some comedians would take months to write and perfect.
Another favourite moment of mine was when Travis talked about asking a stranger for directions and highlighted the differences between the ways white people and black people would give them - in particular with reference to the landmarks they point out along the way. It's that level of acute observation that makes Travis' material shine.
Underlying all of his material are themes of masculinity and race - Is it OK to not dismiss the idea of having sex with a sex doll? Is Anthony Joshua too polite? Should men cry more? Was Travis right to cry when his grandfather died? How should you react to road rage? Travis may not have all the answers, but he does have hilarious anecdotes which pose these questions.
As a father to an eight-year-old girl and one-year old boy, Travis talks about how he deals with the boys at school his daughter fancies and reveals how as a fan of boxing, he's already teaching to box and defend himself.
It's a solid debut from someone who's confident, competent and clear on his comedic voice. He knows the stories he wants to tell, he know the jokes he wants to make and he does both to an admirable ability. What Travis has above other newcomers at this year's festival is experience and that will stand him in good stead as his profile grows and opportunities (almost certainly) roll in.
Travis Jay: Funny, Petty, Cool runs until 25th August (not 16th) at 2.35pm at Just the Tonic at The Mash House (Just the Attic). Book tickets here.