Lewis Schaffer, Bigger and Blacker, Free Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Lewis Schaffer, as he mentions on numerous occasions, got four stars in The List magazine last year. This year the American has turned his back on the normal Fringe and is performing at the Free Fringe. Schaffer cites two reasons for this. Firstly he’s had enough of performing in poor venues, like last year’s “leaky cave”. And secondly he’s had enough of losing money. At least by performing in the Free Fringe he’ll not finish August owing money!

Lewis Schaffer promo image, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009

Lewis Schaffer is American and Jewish. He now resides in London and he’s very keen to inform us how much moaning we Brits do! His animated delivery, as he swans around the stage with his microphone and stand, is backed by a likeable accent and very good audience interaction. The main theme of his “Bigger and Blacker” show is Lewis Schaffer punching a couple of guys at the Gilded Balloon, when one of them threw his Nokia phone to the ground. This was the first time Schaffer had ever punched someone in the face and as he later proclaims “it felt great”.

Occasionally Schaffer began to head somewhere darker and more controversial, as if he was desperate for an audience reaction. But he kept the show together, to produce a thoroughly laugh filled 45 minutes. While some of the material borrows heavily from last year’s show - for example the fact that the English won’t do anything the Germans do - there’s still plenty to keep you entertained.

At the end of the show, as for any show in the Free Fringe, a bucket for contributions is presented. Schaffer asks the audience to compare his show to similar paid events and give an appropriate amount; I wasn’t the only visitor to leave a note - this was quality comedy in a neat venue. Just past the bucket was Lewis Schaffer - handing out a badge proclaiming “Lewis Schaffer decked me”. Recommended.

Lewis Schaffer’s “Bigger and Blacker” show is on at The Counting Horse (above the Pear Tree pub) until the 30th August at 6.40pm. You don’t need tickets - just turn up 10 minutes before.

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