REVIEW – Simon Brodkin – Screwed Up

Simon Brodkin Screwed Up Main Image


EVEN if you’ve never heard of Simon Brodkin, you’ve probably seen, read or heard about his pranks and stunts.

He’s the one who handed Theresa May her P45 during that disastrous speech, chucked swastika-emblazoned golf balls over Donald Trump, and ambushed Sepp Blatter with wads of cash as part of “a North Korean bid to host the world cup”.

Brodkin explains that a big reason for these stunts is because he’s “fame-hungry”, but sadly for him, the media only ever describes him as “an anonymous prankster”.

He’s probably also better known as his alter egos, like “chavvy” Lee Nelson and footballer Jason Bent, than his actual name.

Promo show of Simon Brodkin and his new show Screwed Up at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Simon Brodkin focuses a lot of his material on his newly-diagnosed ADHD.

Perhaps his new Fringe show, Screwed Up, will boost his recognition and appreciation.

I went to a sold-out performance of said show, at the Pleasance’s Cabaret Bar Stage. 

After walking on, he puts the audience at ease by saying what everyone was thinking. This isn’t a cabaret show, and “there’s no f***ing bar”.

What the show does have is plenty of material about politics, current affairs, sexual gags and the playful slagging-off of pretty much every demographic possible – the usual territory for this experienced comedian.

However, this show also contains a lot more personal material. He jokes about his family life, his Jewish upbringing, and his recently-discovered Russian ancestry.

The main theme of his set, however, is the state of his “screwed up” mental health. Specifically, his recent diagnosis of ADHD.

As someone who is personally going through the diagnosis process at the moment, his gags and anecdotes about the condition were both hilarious and relatable. 

He described being in tears when he discovered that ADHD symptoms explained much of his personality and antics – especially his dedication to pranks and his willingness to risk prison or injury.

His ADHD-related material, such as forgetting about the existence of his kids, drew big laughs from the crowd. As someone who (probably) has the condition, I can’t even be sure if that story is an exaggeration.

The jokes come thick and fast, and the audience appreciated that he came across as a normal guy, with struggles, anxieties and problems like everyone else.

Some of the material felt slightly out of place. For example, the multiple jibes about trans women felt a bit excessive and mean-spirited, and got a somewhat awkward reaction from the audience.

Overall though, Bodkin’s show was an absolute hoot, and I left the Pleasance with a big smile on my face. 

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