Larry Dean

Sat 6th – Mon 8th August 2016


Amy Mace

at 09:26 on 9th Aug 2016



Larry Dean’s confessional gig is aptly named, as he tells a series of (sometimes perhaps overly) revealing stories about his family, sexuality and social struggles. His cheeky grin, Glaswegian lilt, periodic sips of Iron Bru and numerous references to his mother and grandmother (both of whom I would now love to meet) make him instantly likeable, and save him during those moments when crude gags come slightly too close to the mark.

His set feels much rehearsed, and Dean seems keen to stick to his script. This rigidity means that he often goes down paths that the audience clearly aren’t supportive of, and more flexibility might be wise in order to save this particular crowd from moments of discomfort. References to Gary Glitter, sodomy and learning difficulties could be offensive to some, although there are audience members who clearly had no qualms. The fact that these allusions are always personal and never projected does make them more acceptable.

Much of Dean’s charm comes from his resigned yet upbeat self-deprecation, the loveable but slightly tragic picture he paints of himself often inciting sympathy and the urge to give him a cup of tea and a hug. There are also instances whereby it feels as if he’s lost his thread, returning to previous gags as if for safety. But the brutal and shocking honesty regarding his personal life interspersed throughout the set is brave, and really to be respected.

Such stories, to do with relationships and social faux-pas, are surprisingly intense for a stand-up show; at times, I wished the light relief of a punch line would come a little sooner. But his honesty is refreshing. It feels as if he is confiding in us, and one can frequently relate to the adolescent awkwardness of failed first dates and unintentional acts of social media suicide.

Ultimately, his personality and self-assured sense of humour carries him through. The general taste of the set, and its occasional one-liners, can be a little boyish and immature, but as Dean at one point admitted, a few lads in the crowd who were clearly lapping it up made the opportunity for such easy laughs difficult to resist. It was a tough crowd at times, with a few impromptu interruptions from audience members, who seemed to fancy his job, wittily and professionally handled by Dean.

It is obvious that he doesn't mean to offend; only to share, to laugh, and to make laugh, and at this he certainly succeeds. His frequent and wholehearted giggles at his own material seemed entirely genuine, and made it a pleasure to watch.


Becky Wilson

at 09:41 on 9th Aug 2016



Larry Dean is an extremely likeable comedian. His set, though spanning from crude sex jokes to emotionally-charged confessions, is consistently good-natured. It is refreshing to see a stand-up who doesn’t depend upon offensive gags to provoke his audiences into nervous laughter: the butt of Dean’s jokes is only ever himself. He is self-aware, and his own sexuality and shortfalls all come under fire - but unlike other self-deprecating comedians, the glint in Dean’s eye and the smirk on his lips reassure the audience that he is genuinely comfortable in his own skin.

Contrarily, it is this likeability which causes Dean some minor problems on the night in question. His open, honest nature is perhaps what instils three audience members with the confidence to interject. These are not heckles: in fact, they are quite the opposite – more like eager contributions to Dean’s camaraderie - and Dean seamlessly bounces off their ideas without drifting far off course. It is a testament to his comedic talents that he can both think on his feet, and deflect the tension when one audience member, unhappy about being gently teased, bites back.

Dean’s material is arresting. He evidently thrives off leading his audiences down a predictable avenue, only to finish with something completely unexpected. After the first few crude jokes, and some banter with the male beer-clutchers of the audience, Dean suddenly reveals that he’s gay (“Uh-oh, key change!”). This is typical of his well-structured set, which has evidently has been planned out to throw as many curveballs as possible.

Bombarding us with the gory details of his prostate exam, he then shifts to a heartfelt anecdote about his late grandmother. Then, as soon as we think we’ve pinned him down, he dismantles everything he’s built up with a cheap, smutty gag. It certainly keeps the audience on their toes.

With such great imagination, it is a shame that Dean feels the need to stray so frequently into the predictable territory of lazy comedians: sex, stereotypes, and his failing love life. Though, in his defence, he does always take things in a more original direction. Dean is a likeable, intelligent comedian who will make you laugh for all the right reasons. Though the cruder aspects of his set certainly won’t appeal to everyone, if you enjoy being caught-off-guard and having your own preconceptions gently prodded, Dean is certainly worth your time.


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