Saturday, December 9

James Barr: Straight Jokes – Frog and Bucket Comedy Club

In response to being told he’s “too gay” in the workplace, podcaster James Barr delivers an hour of flippant stand-up.

There are few laughs to be enjoyed here regardless of your sexuality. Some of the jokes do land, but setbacks relating to delivery, stage presence and timing result in a lot of misses. The audience were supportive as Barr repeatedly forgot his place, resorting to notes on the floor to keep him on track, but this gig needs straightening out if it wants to thrive in the comedy circuit.

It’s apparent that much of the material is borrowed: on the teaching of gay relationships in schools, Barr’s quip about him learning Geography but not becoming Sri-Lankan is an obvious recycling of journalist Benjamin Butterworth’s World War Two tweet that resurfaces every Pride month.  

While ‘Straight Jokes’ does achieve regular chortles from around the room, the combination of mildly edgy jokes and mildly-smug, self-back-patting affirmations obscures the overall tone of the set. Even some of the contemporary references are not quite established enough to be appreciated by the majority of the crowd.

With snappier, spicier content as well as more practice, ‘Straight Jokes’ could be something fierce.

‘James Barr: Straight Jokes’ begins its run at the Edinburgh Fringe on 3rd August with tickets available from  

Reviewer: Scot Cunningham

Reviewed: 20th July 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★