David Ian – self-proclaimed mediocrely gay – performs his one-man comedy show featuring one-liners, the expectations that come with being a gay man, and the all too true struggle of figuring out how to fit in.

Mediocre Gay is Ian’s debut solo show and is being performed at the Aces and Eights Saloon Bar as part of the Camden Fringe. I really appreciated Ian’s welcome message in the program and his acknowledgments to those who helped with it. The program also lists four queer songs, with details about their meanings and artists, which are played as you enter the venue. These songs are by queer people who Ian felt deserved to be featured, as they all have a range of experiences.

The venue was downstairs in a room with a small stage and a single mic. Kate Dale opens the show with a hilarious short set about the experiences of being a bisexual woman. She is clever and honest, and having warmed up the audience, she introduces us to Ian.

The overarching message of Mediocre Gay seems to be Ian’s acceptance of falling short of being stereotypically gay, hence the title of the show. He talks about his outfit (sort of gay, but not in-your-face gay) and his ‘typical gay’ childhood experience. (Spice Girls wallpaper and Cher vinyl for the win!) He is facetious in his joke delivery, making the audience at times cackle, and his storytelling is linear and easy to follow. I love the way he reclaims ‘mediocre’ and uses it as his brand, not unlike the way the words ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ have been reclaimed.

Ian’s routine was full of one-liners, sex and relationship jokes, and comments on how these days, being gay is about much more than your sexuality. This last bit is highlighted in a story about how Ian was the only gay person in his workplace, so he felt the need to fit into what his colleagues thought was the typical gay male, even though it wasn’t his true personality. The phenomenon about not feeling ‘gay enough’ is something not just gay men but all queer people know too well with inaccurate and limited queer representation in the media. It is an important conversation to be had, and Ian delivers it with wit and humor in his show.

As a whole, Mediocre Gay was executed more as a stand-up routine than a storytelling. While many did, not all of the jokes had a perfect landing. As Ian is a male, cis, gay, millennial man, the show catered to male, cis, gay, millennial men. I can’t fault him for talking about what he knows, but the show has a very niche humor. Many of his jokes were at the expense of himself, and the self deprecating nature of the routine became a little tiresome. I wish he talked about a few more ‘wins’ or life lessons he learned through his journey.

Overall, the show was an enjoyable night out with a lot of laughter. Mediocre Gay will be on at the Aces and Eights Saloon Bar August 17th and 27th. It will also be on at Ludlow Pride at The Change Thai Bar and Garden August 23rd, as well as the Watford Fringe at the Colne River Studio, Pump House Theatre on September 30th.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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