Dan Antopolski: older and wiser

Christian Butler

Topics Culture

Dan Antopolski has made a much-feted return to the Edinburgh Fringe after a seven-year hiatus, during which, among other things, he played Jesus in the Da Vinci Code movie and had a stint on a CBBC kids’ programme. The bearded comic’s new hour, simply titled Return of the Dan Antopolski, focuses on his middle-aged personal life. And the material shows a new confidence and maturity as he ponders marriage, children and death.

Antopolski’s humour is defined by well-crafted contrasts. He combines an amiable, well-spoken demeanour with scathing takedowns of the audience, and an over-the-top extended vocabulary with gross-out scatological humour. His political material, meanwhile, strays between obvious jokes about Brexit voters being racist and an entire bit recalling an offensive joke a friend of his made about trans people – retold, purely, so he can serve up a provocative pun.

More surprising is an extended tribute to his recently deceased mother, which plays out without any attempts at humour. Amid all the self-aware comments about the structure of his set, and his celebrated wordplay (Antopolski previously won Joke of the Year at the Fringe), a remarkable sincerity shines through in this splendid return.


Christian Butler is a spiked columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @CPAButler

Return of the Dan Antopolski is at Assembly George Square Studios until 27 August.

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