GICF Review: Julian Clary- Born To Mince

Part of The Glasgow International Comedy Festival, 2019: seen at Kings Theatre.


Few have created feel-good filth quite like the inimitable “camp comic and renowned homosexual”, Julian Clary.

Tonight, resplendent in a series of glamorous shimmering suits, Clary proves that although the rubber fetishism of the 80s has long gone, he can still make your maiden aunt clutch her pearls (not a euphemism). He picks on audience members (“the punters”) as ever, but we’re all in it together. Nobody is spared, and it’s all done with that famous benign smile.

When not laying into certain areas of the country- “They’re getting a hologram of Joe Lycett with prosthetics in the Isle of Wight instead of me… No-one will tell the difference”, he quips- there are riffs on the vacuity of celebrity culture, and the ubiquity of social media.

Everyone from Holly Willoughby to Prince Philip gets a well aimed stack heel, and a certain image of  Christopher Biggins can never, I fear, be scrubbed from my brain.

Photo: Michi

But it’s not all single entendre humour. Clary is a masterful storyteller and satirist, as evinced by his songs. The reworked ‘Keep Young and Beautiful’ lampoons societal obsessions with youth, and ‘Sometimes, Life’s A Cunt’ would sit nicely next to David Hoyle or Dusty Limits with its scabrous wordplay.

Wonderfully, as befits a man nudging sixty, but still incredibly beautiful, he is possibly even less mellow now. Railing against the rise of the right, he pouts,” I’m still a leftie. If I was anymore left-wing, I’d probably grow a beard and start wearing corduroy”… As if …

A section in the second half where he creates a (possibly rigged) “heterosexual conversion therapy” gameshow makes my mascara run. Not for Clary, a gentle mocking of volunteers from the audience. This is pure verbal -and near physical -assault. And the men love it (mostly).

Lapsed Catholic boys are always the filthiest, and the most fun. Others are the bottom; with Born To Mince, Clary proves he is the top.


See Julian Clary at Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Wednesday, April 10th. For more information and tickets head to the website.

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