The Museum Of Comedy, Holborn, London, 27/07/2019.
This year during the Edinburgh previews I’ve seen I’ve heard very funny tales about life in Russia, confessions from a female comedian about how badly she’s treated people in the past, and the desperation to escape small town life when you just don’t fit in, but nothing has even been close to being as unique as Ian Lane’s hour of comedy where he talks about how his father was in the SAS, and not only that, but he fought alongside Andy McNab and features in the book Bravo Two Zero.
This may sound like a spoiler but we discover early on that tragically Lane’s father, known as “Legs” in the book, died during the gulf war when Ian was only five years old, and Paperweight is the story of how that affected him, his relationship with his mother, and how it wasn’t until he was aged 33 that he was diagnosed with autism. Now this may sound like heavy stuff but Lane has managed to create a lot of very funny jokes which revolve around his and his family’s life story, and there’s often a lot of joyfully funny daftness too which made me laugh a great deal.
It’s a mix of startling honesty and beautiful absurdity, and throughout he uses a power-point slide show to illustrate certain parts of his story, which includes passages from McNab’s book, but he also has some shockingly funny selection of drawings (one of the best being where he takes the time out to talk about the best potato shape), and an extremely amusing running gag about famous logos that he’s altered just enough to make sure that he isn’t sued. There’s also a collection of parodies of the army’s “We Want You” posters that were designed to appeal to millennials recently that just become more hilarious as the show goes on.
The final quarter does take a serious turn as Lane discusses his own life post university, and how a drama degree and M.A. didn’t get him the work he’d hoped it would, which ties in with his autism and his relationship with his mother, but despite being fairly dark in places Lane never forgets to generate laughs from this complicated life that he’s experienced. Indeed one of the funniest moments comes right at the end, but if I was to reveal why it made me laugh so much that would spoil the show more than a little.
It’s an affecting show without a doubt, but one that never stops being funny at any point, and I’ve not even touched on a great deal of the subjects and elements of this superb hour of comedy as it’s such a a densely layered yet consistently funny set and listing them all would take far too much time. But you’re guaranteed not to hear a tale quite like this from anyone else at the Edinburgh Fringe, or elsewhere once the festival is over with for that matter, and you’d miss out on a stunning show if for some crazy reason you decide against attending it.
Ian Lane is performing Paperweight at the Edinburgh Festival at Just the Tonic at The Mash House, from August 1st – 25th (not 12th) at 8.35pm, and further information and tickets can be found here.
You can follow Ian on Twitter here.