Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Dan Lobell is a big guy, a big personality, a big presence and a man who has tried to slim down in at least one of those areas. His stand up show is all about how he went from a laid back start straight to walking and talking. From there his growth kept going and from seeking attention he is now paying attention to his all you can laugh humour buffet that rewards you in courses of laughter.
Danny is a funny guy. His approach to life is a little laid back and a lot of care. That care takes you gently by the hand and then draws you into his world where the diets are tried and abandoned, the Chubby Chasers are referenced and run away from – or not – and how to get the hottest girl tells us why there is always a smiley face somewhere tucked in the audience after having done her stint handing out the flyers before the start of the show.
That laid back style allows you to relax and feel in very safe hands. His stories have punchlines, his act has structure and his approach has you eating from the palm of his hand. Never less than funny it is in his delivery that you realise he has your funny bone dancing. Managing to conform to the age old pattern of knowing when to hit the tag, he can take you up the to the buffet table and then drop the plate on your toes making sure you squeal at it all.
Highlights included the Peruvian Santa job he got where his Spanish never got beyond si, the faternity that does not exist, even in rehab, the fat camp he went on as a child and ended up gaining the weight and why he is waiting for the paper clip option. All of that makes sense if you can get a seat at the Coffee House – it was sold out when I was there.
But like many of the best comedians Danny knows that comedy works best in juxtaposition to the opposite – tragedy. A touching tribute to his friend Ralphie May ends with the loss of his friend and it takes on a serious curve ball. It works because it has affection at its core and a genuine friendship that you can feel. The tragic ending of his friend is told, not just with a tear in his eye but with a fondness and joy that they knew each other that is both infectious and makes you want to seek the guy out – sheer clowning at its best.
Such a personal story and the way in which Danny makes you feel personally part of his tales is his warmth an ability that shines through. There is not an unlikable bone in his approach nor body. That is his personality up onstage and watching him reminds me of the tremendous courage stand up can take – it’s a personal risk. This, trust me, is a risk worth taking