Greg Proops

Gilded Balloon Teviot

From 02 August 2013 to 14 August 2013

Rating: ****

Review by David Chadderton

The publicity for Proops's stand-up show tells us, "each show is different as Greg cannot remember his act from night to night´╗┐". Just to reinforce this, he tells us near to the start, "I have jokes and when I remember them I''m going to tell them". Whether this is all true or not, there is a feeling that this star of improvisation shows on stage and TV on both sides of the Atlantic is creating his show anew for each audience.

Proops is an angry man. He is angry at many things in the world, from the venue's air conditioning to world politics, and he can rant eloquently and wittily about all of it for as long as we will listen with barely a pause to draw breath. He has special ire reserved for the US government, especially the stupidity of the previous President and the disappointment with the current one, whom he refers to as "Black Jesus".

But at the performance I attended, his biggest rage was expended on someone who dared to heckle in the middle of one of his stories. The incoherent shout was put down by an eloquent but foul-mouthed rant that seemed to go on for a full five minutes, and then, when the man tried to come back at him, Proops demanded that the venue staff—when some were eventually found—throw him out before he continued the show.

Once the offender and his friends were ejected, Proops came up with some funny anecdotes about previous hecklers before moving seamlessly back into his, we presume, prepared material.

He insults everyone at some point, including the Scots and the audience, and there are some moments that produce a sharp intake of breath, but Proops is unapologetic, confrontational and very funny.

He only gave us, the audience, three stars for the performance I saw, but I think he was better than this.