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Review: Ed Gamble: Hot Diggity Dog

It’s been fascinating to see the transformation Ed Gamble has made over the past 15 years.

Launching his comedy career with the cult hit Peacock and Gamble podcast with the help of fellow comedian Ian Boldsworth, Ed’s character began as a bumbling, giggling manchild with an endearing sense of mischief. Later, as he became more prominent in the stand-up circuit and made TV appearances on the big comedy panel programmes, Ed has since grown into a persona more akin to the straight man in a comedy double act, instead reacting to the bizarre things around him rather than manifesting the silliness himself.

It’s fitting, then, that change is a big theme in Ed’s latest stand-up tour, Hot Diggity Dog. As the name suggests, despite Ed’s developing “maturity,” there’s still plenty of childish wonder within him. The result is a highly entertaining show with insights from a man doing his best to be an adult, but failing due to his infantile instincts. His performance at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre was relatable, outlandish, and most importantly, very funny.

Ed’s onstage performance was very theatrical and energetic, complementing the strangeness of his material very well.

In his pursuit of becoming a more sensible adult, Ed is now a married man, an aspiring cook and a self-proclaimed cat dad. However, as it often goes for a stand-up comedian with stories to tell, his ventures into maturity often don’t go as planned.

When Ed tells the audience about his honeymoon in Las Vegas, he describes his humourous encounters with Elvis impersonators, drag artists, and gambling fanatics (who have a grating enthusiasm for the surname “Gamble,” much to his annoyance). The clashing of Ed’s upper-class English mannerisms and the obnoxious ramblings of Sin City’s residents makes for some hilarious anecdotes.

In another story about his good intentions descending into chaos, Ed talks about his attempt to connect to his local community. In what may be the highlight of the show, Ed explains how his participation in his street’s WhatsApp group quickly sees him degenerate back into his juvenile ways. Putting the chat on his TV screen and treating it as top-tier evening entertainment for him and his wife, Ed’s observances of his neighbours’ strange conversations and a particularly odd story of a man caught defecating on the nearby road make for some of Ed’s greatest-ever material.

The Marlowe Theatre was packed to the brim with Ed Gamble fans on Tuesday night.

He also talks about his attempt at making potato dauphinoise — a dish as exotic as it sounds. Unsurprisingly, Ed is out of depth in his culinary quest, and despite his best attempts to impress his wife, the endeavour quickly lands him in A&E in a very comical story.

An honourable mention must also go to warm-up act Chloe Petts, who opened the show with some very quick-witted interactions with the front row. She also gave some funny observances on typical vegan behaviour, football fans’ Twitter bios and the differences between male and female flirting — peppered with some edgy quips on vulgar topics which brought some infectious, inappropriate laughter from the audience.

Comedian Chloe Petts did a great job of warming up the crowd.

It’s clear that Ed has developed a mastery of the stand-up art form. Every callback to previous jokes made all of his stories feel interwoven and complex, despite each individual tale being so simple and accessible. This set was the first gig of the new tour, yet the lack of flaws and filler made it seem perfectly crafted, as though performed a hundreds times prior. Ed managed to make the Canterbury crowd erupt into applause as well as laughter a number of times, which is no easy feat for a Tuesday night audience.

It’s always tempting to tell the people we admire to “never change,” but in Ed Gamble’s case, it’s impossible not to want him to continue on his evolving personal journey. It’s going to be incredibly exciting to see what transformation his comedy monster will make next.

Rating: 4/5

Featured image: Promotional artwork of Ed Gamble: Hot Diggity Dog