Gabby Best’s debut stand-up hour 10,432 Sheep provides so much joy it should be prescribed on the NHS. For anyone who’s ever had trouble sleeping, applying the Gabby Best life filter as a cool compress to your fraught brow will remedy any ailment. It quickly becomes apparent why Gabby Best is missing out on Z’s, because she is the only person on this planet doing the thinking!
This is the first time we get to meet Gabby Best as Gabby Best, as in stand-up Gabby Best instead of her previous character comedy work. (For further clarity I don’t mean the Gabby Best ‘brand’ akin to Lorraine Kelly’s ‘chatty’ TV persona recently cited in the ITV presenter’s HMRC appeal.)
Thank goodness we get to reap the benefits of 360 degrees of the Gabby Best lens. There is something extremely reassuring about being in the presence of such a creative entertainer and storyteller. She has a gift for reaching broad audiences and pivoting off their interactions that always feel organic and never forced or coerced. Every single line has purpose, packed with laugh out loud jokes in a seemingly never-ending supply, yet Best makes it all seem so effortless, with a confidence, energy and structure that is simply miles ahead of typical debut hours at the festival. Of course, it’s not easy, and the reason that 10,432 Sheep is an utter delight is that Gabby isn’t trying to make us laugh, or tell us her life story with a big formulaic reveal, she just is funny. And she makes us see the world differently. It’s as simple as that, and this is only the beginning for her. Because she gets to hang out with Gabby Best every day and every sight, sound, older person, restaurant, piece of music and trip to the newsagents can be transformed by Best into a mine of comedy gold.
I can’t actually think of another comedian to compare Gabby to after watching this sublime debut hour, and can only turn to art. Gabby paints a picture of public consciousness that is not only brilliant and funny but which also stands as documentation of social history, more vivid in its depictions of our times than if a Grayson Perry tapestry was ringing in our ears. She is a new, vital and definitive comedy voice stepping into the breach with a bold outward looking take on the ever encroaching culture of self and how we relate to ourselves, our wider communities and workplaces to find meaning and joy amidst the perils of the flawed societal norms and expectations.
So rest easy, comedy is in safe hands (and I’d take a punt on the world being saved if there were 10,432 people with a Gabby Best filter on the planet, so spread the word).
Gabby Best: 10,432 Sheep is at the Banshee Labyrinth (Cinema Room) until the 25th August 2019, 18:25 on the PBH Free Fringe. For more information visit https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/gabby-best-10-432-sheep