What can I say about Rhod Gilbert? Last year he blew Edinburgh away with a show that hasn't been seen since Phil Nichol in his prime. That one show was good enough to win the top comedy award for three of the last four years (obvious not when Phil won it). But it didn't. Praising Rhod after seeing his show a second time (won't happen this time, every show, including the three extra shows, are completely sold out in one of the biggest venues in Edinburgh), I informed him he was a certainty to win. Modestly he declined to agree and felt they may decide to go with David O'Doherty as he's been around for many more years. Indeed they did. The bright side of course is that puts him in the same category as Phil Nichol, being robbed one year only to return the next with an excellent show and win the newly named comedy award.
Rhod clearly doesn't believe that karma will help him out this year as he has brought a stunning show, matching the highs of last year's triumph. He talks about his last year and how his life has fallen apart since the reviews of last year's shows came out. He has lost his flat, his girlfriend, his agent and had a different rage-induced breakdown. Vacuum cleaner, washing machines, canals Prince Charles – everything drives Rhod the brink of despair. His material, timing, stage-craft and tempo are all spot on. I am now aware of him using a director which if true, makes it more impressive. He is the finest comic on the circuit right now and he is still hitting top form.
Amazingly very few of the audience saw his show last year, the vast majority having caught him excelling on TV at the Royal Variety Performance and on BBC1' stand up shows. I so thrilled for Rhod that he's getting the attention he deserves as one of the UK's top comics (winning Chortles' Best Headliner Award too). If Rhod does not win the top award this year, I take out my threat to riot that started after Phil Nichol was overlooked. He can't win next year because he will be a full on star, no doubt playing the Music Hall to 1,000 people a night. Perfect, Uber-observant and a Guru. 10 out of 10 which is above 5 stars (sorry Pajama Men, Rhod will be king).