While not yet as well known as his mates John Robins and Nish Kumar, Ed Gamble is a comedy star in the making. And while he is undeniably funnier than many of his stadium-filling contemporaries (yes John Bishop and Micky Flanagan, I’m looking at you!), his cult status means we can get to see him in intimate venues like the wonderful North Wall at St Edward’s School.

His show at the Summertown arts centre on Saturday was the very definition of great comedy – a pro at the top of their game, firing on all cylinders, eyeball-to-eyeball with a rapt audience, willing to engage in his banter and flights of fancy.

He praised the venue, with its wooden balconies – comparing it to a “strange ship”, to which it does admittedly bear some resemblance.

Being a comedy veteran, I sensibly sat as far back as possible. Others weren’t so lucky. While far from cruel, Ed is direct and not afraid to make his audience squirm by singling them out – which they did. A “racist” air traffic controller earned the brunt of this – though a pharmaceutical seller (‘drug dealer’ he decided) gave as good as he got.

His polished show was an extended version of the set he performed for the Mind Comedy Gala at the Oxford Playhouse earlier this month.

No doubt there was some cross-over in the audience, but judging by the laughter, they loved it nonetheless.

Ed’s charm is that of an everyman, an intelligent unashamedly middle class guy slightly confused by the ridiculousness of life. So while there were Brexit references, there were no Nish Kumar-style rants.

His ire, instead, was directed at a newspaper report of his being stranded in New York during a blizzard, in which he was described as a “diabetic comedian”. This led to an extended riff about the condition and others’ reaction to it. He found a soul mate in the audience.

Read more: Ed Gamble and Nish Kumar join comics raising £30k for Mind

All gentle stuff, he talked about sponsoring a guide dog puppy for the blind – insisting he had been lied to when he was sent a picture of a clearly elderly dog.

Even funnier was his routine about his retired dad taking in a pet cat. A sensible, no-nonsense former lawyer, he has taken, we were told, to emailing the vet as the cat.

The Oxford Times:

A thread of emails on behalf of the animal were hilarious as was the suggestion of the inevitable conclusion to the conceit – with the cat emailing the vet to arrange his own lethal injection. Brilliant.

5/5