Tony Law – shouty bollocks

Today was my second dose of Tony Law. I flew solo to The Stand last weekend, arriving late and finding one of just a few vacant seats. A sell-out crowd for a half-past-midday performance on Sunday (a regular occurrence apparently for this daily show) is no mean feat, even with forty-nine million people currently visiting Scotland’s capital. I enjoyed his “shouty bollocks” immensely, so much so that I bought three more tickets for Michelle, Cal and a school chum of his. I wanted them to see what I thought – recent reviews had said the same – was a Fringe highlight. Yesterday, Cal and his pal bailed out, preferring instead to earn some cash, stewarding. That left two tickets spare. Well I grabbed one, happy to see more Mr. Law, and one was snapped up by a lovely friend of ours. All set then.

I think it’s safe to say Tony Law is a fan of The Who. His performance is littered with Who titbits, verbally with lyrical injections and physically with windmill air guitar gesticulations. “You better you bet” and “You’re forgiven” are served to individuals willy-nilly whilst his Pete Townshend windmill is randomly delivered as a visual punch line, much like a short cymbal crash to a deft one-liner. Indeed, as we sat waiting for ten minutes prior to the show Who songs were being played. ‘You Better You Bet’ faded out as the lights dropped. I reference and emphasise The Who for a reason. Our mate arrived late, just a minute before Tony Law hit the stage. It was 12.40 in the lunchtime and he’d been out all night, and all morning (well, it is ‘The City that never sleeps’ after all). A wee bit tipsy he was, and I don’t think he noticed The Who.

tony-law

Tony Law’s show is titled ‘Nonsense Overdrive’ and indeed features a barrage of absurdity; about space mostly, and science, and parenting, a trip to Peru, a house party and a voyage to outer space – beyond dick space and Saturn – riding on puppets to escape bullshit middle-class bourgeoisie. Now this is no joke – laugh – joke – laugh kinda show, in parts it’s stupidly, brilliantly nonsensical, at others it delivers a message (it’s vague, but it’s there), taking pot-shots at sexism and the middle-class mostly, whilst laced with a strong sense of love (for his family, clearly), morality, humanity and being overwhelmed by the world, universe and all around him. Tony Soprano makes several appearances, one of a cast of diverse characters from TV and Law’s childlike mind. Tony Law is a performer, a clown, and a showman. He’s a very funny fucker.

So, ten minutes into his show, with a few Who injections and handful of windmills already executed, our mate shouts out (to Michelle who’s sitting right beside him) “If he swings his arm round one more time I’m gonna fuckin’…” This was no ordinary heckle. This was loud and rather unexpected. His sleep-deprived, alcohol-fuelled brain saw something in Mr. Law’s swinging arms that displeased him. Quite possibly in his show too. So, what prompted this displeasure? Tony’s fist pumps and windmills? Now, anyone who knows our drunken friend will tell you he’s the loveliest, funniest, most caring psychiatric nurse in the world, but as Tony Law makes reference to in his show, he (like all of us) has this “inner dick” or part of his persona that needs to be quashed, held back and restrained. Saying exactly what you think, at times, isn’t a good idea, especially after a skinful and no sleep. Tony Law seemed somewhat taken back by this taunt, recommending a swift departure, refund and offer of his seat to those standing nearby. Our friend departed, with no fuss.

It seemed to take Tony Law a few minutes to regain his composure. It took Michelle and myself longer to regain ours. What lessons have we learned here? Never judge a book by its cover? Never judge a look by the lover? Inner demons are uncontrollable after a cocktail of sleeplessness and cider? I dunno. I would suggest though that unless you’re a banker or fan of Michael McIntyre you make the effort to see Tony Law. Air guitar, fist pumps, Vikings and all.

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