Jena Friedman: American C***

The Stand until August 30

Four stars

Jena Friedman is well aware there’s an offensive word in the title of her show: “American” is pretty much guaranteed to put someone’s back up every time she leaves her native land… But the Edinburgh debutante – former writer for David Letterman and currently a producer on The Daily Show – is determined to live up to both bits of that attention-grabbing epithet. And so she heads for an old-school comedy battleground somewhere between Bill Hicks and Denis Leary, sifting through current affairs and exploding hot topics like the former, fearlessly stepping over the good-taste demarcation and causing sharp intakes of breath like the latter. She’s good on feisty feminism and abortions (her stand-up speciality, it would appear) but great when she moves onto the likes of Bill Cosby and Hillary Clinton; in fact it would be ideal if, right through her Edinburgh run, she riffed on daily headlines because it’s worth hearing what she’s got to say about the world, not just the confrontational way she says it.

Alan Morrison