COME on, mate, pop me on the fridge.”
I’ll admit, in over 30 years watching comedy, that’s the strangest line I’ve ever heard.
But the sight of a burly audience member hoisting Tim up by the oxters and plonking him on the aforementioned fridge is also one of the funniest things I’ve seen in my life.
As you might very well expect, loads of Fringe shows this year touch upon the pandemic, and particularly the impact it had on people’s mental health.
But if you only want to see one “lockdown show” at the return of the Fringe, make it this one.
If you didn’t know better, judging by the manic, confrontational, lager-fuelled performance you’d deduce that spending three lockdowns alone has had a catastrophic effect on Tim’s emotional wellbeing – he blames lockdown for not becoming a household name “Just as I was on the cusp!” – as he rants, shouts, hectors his audience and bullies some into holding his can for him.
He even admits to “eating icing sugar out of a mug with a car key”.
All of it punctuated by some basically unhinged poetry.
But the beauty of the show is that you know – or at least hope – that it’s all an act, and Tim can get away with murder because every harangue is swiftly followed by an impish smirk as he giggles at his own cheek. And those receiving his closest attention are rewarded with a can from the fridge.
To be honest, you could tell from the start that this was going to be a bit different, as Tim was standing centre stage as we filed in, resplendent in an off-turquoise velour tracksuit and sipping a pint of lager, nodding to those who dared to acknowledge his presence.
And I don’t recall any other comic beginning his act by ringing a small hand bell for attention from the back of the room before hurling a plastic bag full of cans onto the stage, opening one with a spectacular spray of lager foam over the front row.
It is manic, lunatic genius.
As for the lockdown stalling his career? Tim is Alex Horne’s creative partner on the smash-hit Taskmaster series and if you want to see this superb show, you’ll have to get your skates on as it’s selling out fast.
Tim Key: Mulberry, 22.00, Pleasance Courtyard