Clive James @ Edinburgh Festival 2008

The Guardian’s Bryan Logan is impressed by Clive James’s routine at this year’s Edinburgh festival, but not enough to consider it an unqualified success.


Clive James in the Evening

Assembly @ Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh



…..This is James at his most engaging, digging a little deeper into the culture, being unashamedly intellectual. (“Nietzsche rarely gets a mention in standup shows …”) But there’s not enough of it. Despite his early disclaimer, he is often just trying to be a comedian. There are jokes about George Bush and about James’s love of M&S clothes – which are fine, but which squander the qualities that distinguish him from standup comedians.

These routines also foreground James’s less lovable tendencies: his high self-regard and his lechery. I am no more interested in the “natural advantages” that he says wear out his Y-fronts than in his thoughts on women’s beach volleyball. Far more engaging to hear how great music induces in him feelings of inadequacy, which feels like honest self-revelation rather than macho raillery.

 Long time admirers of James, such as myself, have tended to play down the “less lovable” tendencies, but they are there and they can annoy.

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One Response to “Clive James @ Edinburgh Festival 2008”

  1. Clive James at Brighton Dome « Kevin Cryan online Says:

    […] Clive James in the Evening reviewed by The Guardian […]

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