Mocking a Murderer: Nigel Lovell at Edinburgh Fringe 2019 – not very funny
Crowded in a trap house above Bar Bados in Edinburgh, my friends and I await Mocking a Murderer, a stand-up show all about serial killers. Whilst the setting for such a show was decidedly fitting, our host for the afternoon was a different story. Mild-mannered fifty-something Nigel Lovell leads us to his crumbling room, complete with a complimentary jug of water which he jokes is an excuse for people to leave early.
He warns us about the content of his show with a disclaimer… followed by a weak half-pun with a nervous chuckle. The audience laughs back out of either pity or second-hand embarrassment – the majority of the show is of a similar calibre. The show next door can be heard through the wall (people cheering and having a much better time than us), and it seems like everything that could go wrong does go wrong. A cheaply made game he called ‘Murderer, Nazi or Comedian’ is a highlight of the set, and provides a few laughs, at the very least at the effort gone into it.
Nigel displays just the right amount of self-awareness, and this makes the show that much more entertaining. Whilst the majority of his set is not very funny, it is peppered with a few moments of genuinely good comedy, particularly when the jokes are aimed at the teller himself.
In many ways, Nigel Lovell is the archetypal Fringe performer, and for a first attempt of a show this shouldn’t be considered a total disaster. Moments of clarity punctuate a generally dull set that, with work, could be much funnier than it is. If Nigel’s murderous subject was convicted of being unfunny and bland, Nigel is guilty by association.