Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Hugely entertaining and graphically honest comedy about an unconventional young gay man’s attraction to bears (older, heavier gay men).
At the age of just 24, Sam Morrison has already impressively mastered the craft of stand up. His Fringe show is a seamless masterclass in how to weave a comedy narrative as the spine to hang umpteen comic digressions on. Throughout the show he never takes his foot off the gas pedal and the energy and ever-changing stories just keep coming.
Gay comedy is nothing new, so Morrison is wise to focus on interesting and surprising nuances within the gay community. In his case, he finds older bears hot. For the uninitiated, a bear in the gay world is usually a hairy, heavily built (either fat or muscular or both) gay or bisexual man. For this predilection, Morrison says he has long received a lot of criticism, questioning and disbelief, both inside and outside the gay world. A combination of size-ism and ageism. There are a few profound moments (I would have liked more) in his high energy, camp and very witty show, including when he puzzles about why he fancies older bears. He concludes that whatever explanation he might invent or accept, those are the guys that turn him on, and, as it is not an abusive or damaging penchant, why does he need an explanation? It is a call to drop the guilt, and ditch the justifications to people who question or are disgusted by what turns you on. Morrison’s exuberance, mischievousness and love of life are infectious and the full house on the day I saw his show were swept along, laughing throughout his hugely entertaining returning narrative of lust over Seth Rogan lookalikes, including his high school teacher and a fellow restaurant diner.
Some of the audience were clearly a little shocked by some of his sex stories, the farcical potential consequences of some intimate gay practices and the graphic details of his exploits and to-do list with bears. As an older, skinny gay man (what does make me ? A giraffe?) I was not personally shocked by these moments, but his originality in many of the observations is without doubt.
A few of the American terms, people and phrases Morrison uses were not universally understood by the international audience, but this is often an issue with American comedians. Most importantly, make sure you have a clear idea of who and what Seth Rogan is before you see this tour de force from a young New York comedian who has the potential to become a big name.