Darren Harriott: Defiant

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Darren Harriot
Published 19 Aug 2017

Some legendary figures had carpenters for fathers, when you think about it, but Darren Harriott’s dad was not the best role model. He wasn’t even a carpenter, despite what it says on his comedian son’s birth certificate. “Well, he couldn’t put ‘drug dealer'," says Harriott, which is a fair point.

Unlike his dad, this upbeat newcomer is a candid type. When he gets to the nitty gritty, it’s heavy on the gritty, as his family features a troublesome array of messed-up dealers. 'Up and coming comedian' is actually a pretty safe career choice by comparison.

Harriott starts this set a little too safely, in truth, but it rapidly gets interesting as he reveals his Rastafarian roots, and ponders the death of their spiritual leader in a manner that might not go down too well with certain relatives. 

From there we’re onto race, religion—he isn’t the only comic here whose "rubbish terrorists" gags suddenly fail due to recent events—and a game attempt at most of today’s hot-button topics. Harriott’s position is largely liberal but relatively uninformed, he’s happy to admit, so his views on various issues can swing wildly, if not purposefully, away from the echo-chamber consensus.

He didn’t like Obama but thinks Trump is funny, voted Remain but is now in favour of a big Brexit, and has a wickedly amusing bit about how gender fluidity might affect a certain face-based board game. Guess which. After unpromising beginnings this debut hour gets stronger and funnier as it progresses: expect a much bigger room next year.