Gavin Lind is a brave comedian. It takes resolve to spend the first five minutes of a show inviting the audience to leave, but the South African-born mining lobbyist, who only took up comedy 18 months ago, somehow manages to pull it off.
Lind has been on the receiving end of some pretty spectacular heckling in the past, so it’ll take a lot for this audience to top that, he says. Perhaps the most extraordinary heckle of all was last year at his Edinburgh Fringe show, when one woman gave the audience the middle finger while walking across the front of the stage, before calling him a misogynist and saying, “I’m glad you're f***ing gay”.
It’s fair to say that Lind’s abrasive style of comedy won’t be to everyone’s taste, but his willingness to tackle any subject from bestiality to Apartheid is refreshing in a world where Michael McIntyre can still win a Bafta after years of churning out mediocre observations of the mundane.
On the surface, Lind is a middle-aged man in search of a new purpose. Others buy fast cars, he picked up a microphone. But, behind the well-trodden routine of “man in crisis” is a thoughtful comedian that’s in tune with the struggles of the LGBT community. His observation that South Africa, despite its history of Apartheid, allows gay marriage and Australia, where he lives now, doesn’t, is a particularly powerful moment in the show.
His recent conversion from vegetarianism to veganism also smacks of someone trying to find their place in the world. He's realised that what makes him different (being gay) doesn’t really make him different at all. As he points out, there are plenty of other gay men bumbling along believing they're special. That said, it would be a struggle to find another comedian that’s a mining lobbyist.
Lind is a bit rough around the edges, a few of his jokes are a tad underplayed, but what he lacks in slickness, he certainly makes up for in wisdom.
Gavin Lind’s ‘Mediocre as F**k’ is at the Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront until 28 May