A word of warning: don’t start an argument with Alex Edelman. The 25-year-old US comic will pedantically pick apart at your defence like it’s an annoying scab, and he isn’t afraid of looking like a psychopathic arsehole in the process. But, man, do these traits make him a captivating stand-up.
In his Converse and zip-up hoodie, the New York-based comic could be a poster boy for the ‘millennial generation’. In fact, he sort of was, when a photo of him graduating from New York University ($193,000 well spent) found its way onto CNN’s homepage. So, while having a slight identity crisis, he decided to take part in a study to see how well he represented his Generation Y peers.
While the ‘study’ thread only serves to loosely connect Edelman’s otherwise unrelated stories, his material itself is killer over filler, with tons of well-honed gags woven into each tale of backchat. Arguments with Blackberry customer services, car rental companies and a cupcake shop employee are heatedly recreated, as if they’re constantly at the back of his mind. ‘I’ve got a mouth on me,’ he admits, and it’s a smart one.
Indeed, Edelman’s at his funniest when being a smart-arse. There’s an unhinged intensity to his delivery, and he completely owns the room (even when the room’s a hot, sweaty, uncomfortable attic). He is trying to keep his anger in check, though, and his less argumentative routines hit home too, especially an opening gambit about his Jewish upbringing.
Edelman has a reassuring confidence, and ‘Millennial’ is a strong, assured debut. Sure, he isn’t pushing any comedy boundaries, but this American youngster inevitably has a bright future ahead of him. As long as he watches his mouth.
‘Alex Edelman: Millennial’ is at the Pleasance Courtyard, 8.15pm