Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Nathan Caton, a regular on the UK comedy circuit does a likeable if not quite uproarious show that touches on race, relationships and your mum jokes, in an hour of classic, warm and enjoyable comedy.
Likeable comedians are hugely underrated. Despite his general appearance coming across as pretty gangster (Caton is a burly black man with corn-rows who wears bling and a baseball cap in his poster), he’s a charming guy whose jokes touch on this disparity between his looks and his actual personality (in his brother’s words, he’s soft as s**t). He also gets into a lengthy discussion with the audience about whether or not he sounds posh when he talks (we settle on “well-spoken”).
Caton is not trying to reinvent the genre here, with typical stand-up devices like asking the guy in the front row his name, and whether there are any Man United fans in the crowd. There are topical jokes (Ryan Giggs), quite a bit of racial humour, and an amazing impression of his West Indian grandmother. He even manages to make a few jokes on the topic of the London riots that don’t come off as crass, no mean feat considering that several comedians have tried and failed to crack jokes on the subject during the festival. He also riffs for a while about how terrible some UK hip-hop artists’ lyrics are, and gets general murmurs of approval.
The jokes tend on the safe side though, and for Caton to really shine I’d love to see him make some bold choices, perhaps take his set more into the region of character stand-up, and really go to town on the fact that, no, despite being a big black guy, he’s not into hip hop and yes, 14 year old “ragamuffins” scare him. What he does now is very traditional and certainly very well-received, but you get the feeling Caton could definitely step it up to become a real contender.