'GROWING up black in Edinburgh,” said Ayo Adenekan. “It naturally leads to comedy”.

The 22-year-old Scot, who was raised by Nigerian parents in northern Edinburgh, is one of the only black comedians currently on the Scottish circuit.

He is almost certainly the only black, bisexual Scottish comedian to regularly perform in the comedy clubs of Dundee and Aberdeen.

Yet despite only starting stand-up less than a year ago, Adenekan is already making a name for himself.

In part, it’s because he offers a perspective hitherto unseen in Scottish comedy.

“I’m used to walking into rooms and being the only black person there,” he said.

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“But with comedy, it’s genuinely the first time in my life where that almost feels like an advantage.

“People are interested in hearing a different perspective because, actually, they don’t want to just hear jokes from white guys”.

Modestly, Adenekan claims never to have been the funniest amongst his group of friends in high school.

But last year, having freshly dropped out of a journalism degree at Napier University, he decided to weaponise an aspect of his personality he never had any doubt in.

“I was at a loss at that time,” he said “I’d dropped out of uni, moved back home with my parents and didn’t really know where my life was going. I was not doing good, to be honest.

“But I’ve always been really confident and never had a problem talking in-front of a crowd.

“So, when I found an open comedy night on Instagram I thought I might as well give it a shot.

“I was just worried I wouldn’t be funny and everyone in Edinburgh would find out!”

His first gig took place at Artisan Roast in Leith, whose Tuesday night open comedy event platforms emerging or first-time comedians. “It went really well, which is mad because so many other comedians I speak to tell me how terrible their first gig was.

“But, for me, it went great and I kept getting invited back”.

Having grown up on a diet of panel shows like Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You, Adenekan’s comedy offers a unique perspective on both the culture and politics of Scotland and the UK.

Whether it’s Ncuti Gatwa scuppering his plans to be the first black and Scottish Doctor Who or the UK’s desire to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, this is a comedian engaged with the world and the often-bizarre encounters it throws his way.

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“It’s funny to grow up black in a city like Edinburgh, which likes to view itself as very left-wing and progressive,” he said.

“Because most of the outright racist incidents I’ve dealt with in my life have tended to come from people who think they’re really progressive but really aren’t behaving that way.

“But, with comedy, it definitely gives me space to be original because there really isn’t a blueprint for black Scottish people.

“Although we see more of them in the media now, like with the Black Scot podcast, it’s not something I grew up with.

“So, although it’s unfortunate that we haven’t had that representation it also means there’s no pressure to conform in any way.

“I can just be myself in a culture that’s still building itself up”.

The National: Ayo Adenekan lists David Mitchell as one of his comedic inspirationsAyo Adenekan lists David Mitchell as one of his comedic inspirations

While preparing for a run at the Edinburgh Fringe alongside fellow comedian Alvin Bang, Adenekan juggles comedy gigs with work in hospitality.

While social media can catapult previously unknown comedic talents to national fame off the back of a few videos, to be a successful stand-up still requires a somewhat old-fashioned devotion to travelling from city to city.

“It can be tricky,” said Adenekan. “There are times when you’re on a train to Dundee for a fee that’s covering your travel and you’ve got work the next day that it can get a bit draining.

“But it’s amazing to me that I’m on any line-up and I try not to lose sight of that.”

Adenekan cites comedians like David Mitchell (above), Russell Howard and Daniel Sloss as inspirations, whose careers he’d one day like to emulate.

“Of course, I’d love to travel the world and perform in different countries,” he said, “But the dream is being a panellist on Would I Lie To You. That would be amazing”.

Ayo Adenekan and Alvin Bang’s show Abandon God is taking place between August 2–25 (excluding 13) between 18:30–19:30 at the Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive Inn, Beehive 1 (The Lounge).