Richard Brown pretty much belongs to the ranty school of comedy. I can’t be too mean though as I pretty much come from the same places he does – politically, philosophically and geographically (as in Scotland). But I also happen to like well crafted comedy so as a result I found Art is Easy not a completely satisfying experience. A bit like being stuck with the ranty guy at a student party where you start off nodding eagerly but are soon giving your watch furtive glances. Like most earnest young men in that situation he does try to re-engage by throwing in some pro-feminist comments but he presents them with some double-bluff irony (see – he is making an effort). Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on whether you were performer or audience – a young woman interrupted Richard mid rant with a quiet – but assured – challenge on a particular point. I liked that part, I have to admit.
Richard states at one point ‘I hate stand-up’ which kinda begs the question ‘why are we here… ?’ In many ways reminiscent of an underdeveloped Frankie Boyle. To be fair though there is some good stuff in Art is Easy – the line about seeing an aggressive Scottish woman in London and being filled with a strange mixture of shame and pride had me laughing. And there’s an effective recurring theme about gay/black friends pretending he’s homophobic/racist so they don’t have to hang about with him. So a bit of a loser and a bit of a ranter and a whole lot of ‘work in progress’ but there are some nuggets therein and it’s always refreshing to hear a Scottish voice – from the Borders even – that’s got to be a USP!