Lorna Irvine reviews an impressive performance with a strong moral core.
A charming raconteur, Jon Ronson appears tonight at the Citizens Theatre to promote his excellent new book So You've Been Publicly Shamed.
This being part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, he mostly focuses on his own humiliation, including a revenge tactic that backfired spectacularly involving a salacious looking mime.
Yet it's not all knockabout stuff. There is a strong moral core that is the key to Ronson's writing, as demonstrated by his scrutiny of the Justine Sacco incident. Sacco, in an ill-advised moment, Tweeted a joke about AIDS and white privilege which essentially almost ruined her. Ronson relays this with compassionate insight, asking why we collectively judge and destroy strangers.
He is an impish, giggly presence yet ferociously intelligent and outspoken. He even lampoons his own shrill indignant outbursts when facing the three academics who set up a fake 'Spambot' account in his name.
But delightfully, the last word goes to the inimitable Frank Sidebottom, who Ronson played alongside in the eighties. Sidebottom, a nasal, papier mache headed uke playing oddball was the alter ego of one Chris Sievey, comedian and musician, beloved of kids who saw him and Little Frank (his own puppet) on Saturday morning children's television shows, belting out bizarre songs about Timperley.
When Sievey sadly died of cancer in 2010, he was penniless and all-but-forgotten. Ronson couldn't see his old friend have a pauper's grave and galvanized a proper burial through fundraising via Twitter. This resulted in such an unprecedented public outpouring that there was enough money raised for a bronze statue of Mr Sidebottom.
Social media as a force for good? Who knew?
So You've Been Publicly Shamed is out now on Picador books.