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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Socially Retarded


Venue: Space UK - Space @ The College of Surgeons


Low Down

Laughing at something embarrassing alleviates the embarrassment, so it makes sense that embarrassment can also be used to create laughter. That’s what tomfoolery have done, they’ve maxed out a simple concept: make people laugh at awkward situations. This is a series of sketches that highlight the social faux pas and underline how as a race, we are fundamentally socially retarded.



 Everyone can empathise with the situations on show: everyone has dealt with the weirdo on the bus, the bereaved person that you don’t know that well, sobbing into your lunch, the elderly racist gentleman. With the rise of such television comedies as The In-betweeners, cringe comedy is ever popular and, providing to the masses, tomfoolery are certainly satisfying the public’s thirst. Two young, quick and witty comedians race through 50 minutes worth of truly tickling sketches.

Tom and Tom, comedy double act, are enjoyable to watch. They both bounce off each other and bring a lot of energy to the stage. Fresh from having their material aired on radio 4, the boys certainly exceed a face only for radio: their deliberate awkwardness onstage brings the whole piece nicely together. Improvisation with the audience is always a risk and they manage to pull it off nicely, referring back to audience members and using them throughout the sketch. These two are on the ball, witty and create a kind of controlled bumbling pace that happily brings the piece along.

The sketches run through racism, homophobia, the dangers of modern networking sites and “facebook stalking” to sex. Top marks to the boys for keeping the crass levels to a minimum: so many stand-ups rely on jokes centred around sexuality, specifically sexual organs, that it is always nice to listen to some material on other subjects.

The main problem, however, is that the jokes, albeit on the whole relatively clean, aren’t particularly original: these jokes have been made time and time again. Granted, why change something if I works but equally, with so much new competition at the Fringe, it will defiantly deter their success. These are funny boys, but their show doesn’t really push them enough: they could evolve this into something much better, much edgier. That’s not to say that Socially Retarded isn’t worth your time, you will be entertained for the entirety of the show, just don’t expect anything ground breaking.