Underbelly Bristo Square – Clover
Ali Woods is a simply brilliant storyteller who manages to make common fears of not being a good enough friend both relatable and humorous. In his debut Fringe comedy show Best Friend Ever he captures the period of time in which lockdown occurred in an honest way, allowing the audience to remember just what a strange event it was, full of daily walks and banana bread.
Whilst Ali’s comedy definitely resonates with the mid-to-late-20s millennial audience, it is delivered in a way that everyone can relate to and find amusing, no matter what age. The intimate venue and classic stand up style, with just a microphone and a stage, are really effective for his conversational delivery, and he engages the audience well.
A large portion of Ali’s set is dedicated to his hilarious yet emotional retelling of how his housemate and best friend struggled severely with depression throughout lockdown. His ability to turn what was undoubtedly a stressful and emotional time for them both into a hilarious stand up gig is unmatched, and he addresses the issue of men often not feeling able to communicate their feelings and discuss mental health in a comedic way. This not only encourages conversation of the very topic being raised but demonstrates that talking about mental health doesn’t have to be done in a serious manner: humour can be an equally useful tool.
Ali goes on to explain how he sought to help his friend through his depression. His honesty about the fact that he hadn’t seen what was happening is refreshing and relatable, reassuring the audience that it doesn’t make you a terrible person. He brilliantly recalls how he, perhaps in hindsight, should have seen signs, which once again encourages us to consider the telling signs in our own friendships and relationships, and also demonstrates the phenomenal use of comedy to discuss important topics.
Once aware though, Ali recalls (using his fantastic comedic storytelling ability) how he had sought to help, culminating in the realisation that his friend enjoyed cooking for others. To enable Ali to be the ’best friend ever’ all he really needed to do was sit back, and accept home cooked meals, all in the name of mental health.
This is a hilarious yet honest depiction of how to be there to support mates, and a phenomenal demonstration of using humour to discuss often taboo topics such as male mental health. It’s a brilliantly witty, funny, and relatable comedy gig delivered flawlessly by a new comedian.
Written by Ali Woods
Directed by Luke Toulson
Ali Woods: Best Friend Ever plays at EdFringe until