Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer
Don’t miss a hilarious and insightful analysis of the state of American politics by a natural and intelligent entertainer.
So many shows at this year’s Fringe cover Brexit or depression, that it’s refreshing to get a little light relief with a witty analysis of the flawed individual who’ll soon run The Free World. And there’s none better to provide it than Erich McElroy, an immensely likeable US stand-up who’s lived in the UK for 16 years. Because he gets what we don’t understand about America, explains it simply and humorously, and – importantly, given the range of ages in the crowd – puts it in historical context.
Looking like a cross between Jason Bateman and The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki, McElroy gives a guided tour of US politics since 1990, yearning for more innocent times when you formed your own views. Nobody told him to vote for Bill Clinton in 1992. He took this decision by himself when Dan Quail (Bush Snr’s V-P) failed to spell ‘potato’ in a school spelling bee. Punctuated by plenty of laughs, McElroy rails against the media for polarising news to such a degree so that people’s views are effectively formed by looking in a mirror and asking if the reflection agrees.
As he moves his narrative towards the present, Donald Trump gets both barrels. McElroy admits a grudging respect for the demagogue’s resistance to shame and childish way of casting aspersions (“Some people are saying …”), balanced with cheaper gags about Trump’s tiny hands and unnatural affection for his daughter. Then, knowing his audience, he drops one excellent observation: “He’s like a drunk heckler, but The Donald doesn’t drink. If you guys trusted him before, you won’t now.”
But this isn’t an attack on the US right, nor does McElroy simply tell liberal Fringe crowds what they want to hear – evidenced by his 2015 anti-Scottish independence show which, by his own admission, bombed. McElroy is pragmatic and has previously voted Republican, so he also picks apart the faults of Bernie Saunders and Hilary Clinton – the latter for her uninspiring campaign and slogan. “‘I’m With Her’? Damn, that sounds like a husband who’s given up.”
Ultimately though, he reveals where his vote will go come November. “For all her faults,” he says, “that woman can spell the shit out of ‘potato’.”
Erich McElroy is performing (US) Electile Dysfunction at 13.20 until 28th August at Laughing Horse @ Bar 50. Get tickets here. For information on his London-based shows in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election, head to Erich’s official website.