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.


Jack is a writer and recent media and culture studies graduate from Newcastle University, where he was president of the film society. His favourite film is Inherent Vice.

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