Ro Campbell is glad we came. After all we could have been watching reality police TV at home instead, and within an instant of appearing on stage we are away laughing. All the way from Australia via his long-time home in Scotland, he is proudly the only non-Scottish person to have won the award for Scottish Comedian of The Year.
Called in at the last moment to cover a spot at The Classic left by Brendhan Lovegrove, Ro has not drawn a massive group this evening, not that he in any way seems fazed. Here is a man who looks utterly at home on stage, and makes no mistakes while winning us all over.
He is witty and quick, warming us up with some local tales then moving out into the world like he was literally flicking through pages in his passport! He's been around: Bahrain to the Shetland Islands (look out for the pole dancers there, they sound scary!) and many places in between. Not to mention The Edinburgh Festival of which he is a seven year veteran; a festival he has a good many opinions about, nicely put though, after all we're at a comedy show.
He's cheeky and certainly knows how to push the boundaries into darker material, which he gets away with because he oozes a wonderful boyish charm; it is impossible to feel offended.
He shyly tells us that he wasn't going to talk about it and then launches into a spin about the All Blacks' haka, and how the British could perfectly deflect it. All he gets is giggles. Even more so when he (as almost every single comedian I have seen this festival has done) runs down Hamilton, and all I can do is laugh (please note this is the first time a comedian has had me laughing about my beloved hometown).
It is fair to say the man has a gift.
Entertaining troops and convicts alike, we are treated to some sensational memoirs of his adventures. In recounting his experiences while working a sideline to comedy, his tall stories get me really giggling. There are some golden moments in the show that he puts down to there being a few comedians in the room - with which I beg to differ. His laugh-per-minute ratio is one of the highest I have seen this festival... and he makes it look effortless!
His banter is natural and by his admission the show is unplanned, so the show you see may vary slightly from the one I saw. I get the feeling that regardless of what he chooses to chat to you about on the night, it will be bloody funny. Because Ro Campbell is really bloody funny.