A cult figure in his native Canada, Edgar Jameson Scott is a new name to all but the most adventuresome comedy explorers on this side of the pond. And there’s good reason for that – what Scott has created with this scintillating hour is a thrilling, meditative, adrenaline-charged, ennui-soaked journey into the heart of modern living. Scott’s thesis – that ‘some stuff sucks, and some stuff sucks less (but not by much)’ – tells us more about us as an audience than it does about him as a performer. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that what at first glance seems to be about us is actually about him, and what seems to be about him is also actually about him, or the way he perceives himself to be understood by others (‘us’). It’s this recontextualising of the comedian’s ‘self’ that really cuts to the heart of what it is to be a white 20-something male trapped in a world that exists only, seemingly, to provoke, with endless minor irritations and inconsequential annoyances. ‘Why is the last Pringle always the hardest to get out??’ Scott rages. ‘Don’t make them so moreish and I won’t get my hand stuck in your tube so often!’ This image – of a powerless man in shorts and an ice hockey shirt, hand entombed in too-slender crisp packaging – is striking and hilarious in itself. But Scott goes further. Not content with subtly critiquing our enslavement to consumerism and self-destructive urge to ingest all that is bad for us, both physically and spiritually, he then conjures the image of himself, finally free of the aforementioned malevolent snack storage/gratification delaying device, upturning said item over his yearning mouth (like an engorged penis, he pauses to inform us, shockingly), his salivary glands working overtime as they anticipate the treats about to be delivered to him – only for there to cascade out of the cylinder and all over his face and upper torso a finely powdered dust (‘like blowing an old guy’) which is the result of his frenzied efforts to extricate himself earlier; the longed-for Pringle literally no longer exists! Scott does not delve into the deeper philosophical implications of this scenario; he wisely leaves it for us to ponder in the hours and weeks after his performance. And this is not the only situation he evokes using just words and the power of his imagination and some deft mime; there are a number of others as well.
Edgar Jameson Scott: Scott’s Happening?, 11.45pm, The Wee Shithole