Laughter Amid The Tears ★★★★
This brave and winning hour certainly pulls no punches
It has long been the preserve of great comics and great boors alike to insist on their right to say the unsayable. In this breakthrough show by Garrett Millerick, the emphatically bearded 35-year-old finds a persuasive middle ground that is all his own. Starting with amiably overheated gripes, he turns his anger, frustration and sadness on some events in his life that challenged his jokey approach.
Which is not what he wanted because comedy, he insists, is about fun, not messages. “I’m going to take 60 minutes of your life,” he says, “and put it in the bin in a pleasurable way.” Cue fuming jokes about a preening mixologist who ruins his gin and tonic, an amusing if not entirely likely story about Chesney Hawkes, and a tale of the member of S Club 7 who sold his Brit Award for £66,000. Firing his material out with a biff, boff and a fair whack of voom, Millerick is as irked and inconsequential as he hopes.
And when he then throws some real life at us, adding reference to sexual and gener politics, and, most of all, grips and worries us with stories of his wife’s recent pregnancy and how badly wrong it goes, he amplifies the pique he was previously wasting – strategically – on piffle. He gets emotionally acute and politically pointed as well as propulsive. He knows how this kind of structure to a fringe show has become a Fringe cliché but, as he tells us about how he and his wife rebuild their lives, how jokes help to keep them sane, he earns all his trappings and more.
Millerick binds the heartache and the trivia alike by arguing that what we can and can’t talk about is all about nuance, intention and context. He makes his case in a thoroughly winning way.