EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: ANDY ZALTZMAN: SATIRIST FOR HIRE, The Stand 3 & 4
If there was an award for the longest, most optimised for search engines, buzzword-crammed title for a Fringe show, it would surely have to go to Andy Zaltzman: Satirist For Hire - Blindfold Cliff-Edge Unicorn Brexit Britain Bogus Prime Minister Democrageddon American Elections Cricket World Cup General State of the World Specials.
Weirdly, this apparent word salad concoction of a title actually sums up the show surprisingly well. The premise is that Zaltzman, best known for current events comedy podcast The Bugle, will take topic suggestions, either by email or from early birds at the front of the queue, and satirise them, with the aim of making audiences feel better about the state of the world. From the new Prime Minister to English sport, the title manages to capture many of the topics about which audiences could use some cheering up.
Zaltzman's satire is gentle and avuncular, with plenty of self-deprecation ensuring it never feels mean or snide. In many ways, his style is the epitome of Middle England; both amused and bemused by the state of the world around him, but confident in the issues that matter the most to him. Indeed, it is the only stand-up gig I've seen where the comic stopped to ask the audience if they knew the cricket score.
The crowd-sourced comedy provides Zaltzman with a wide range of topics; at this performance, he explored the subtle differences between Scandinavian countries, provided statistical evidence that dogs are better than babies, and argued that Drama is the only important school subject. There are times where he clearly draws proceedings back to subjects he has material on, and all too often invokes Brexit for a cheap punchline, but there certainly are well-improvised laughs here too.
While Zaltzman generously tries to cram in all of the subjects put forward, some topics proving more meaty than others means that there is something of a rush towards the end to cover them all within his allotted hour. Coupled with a lack of ordering for the topics means that the ending of the gig peters out somewhat - unfortunate, given some of the stronger material that came before.
Nevertheless, Bugle fans will enjoy the chance to hear Zaltzman do a similar kind of satire while thinking on his feet, and any comedy fan will appreciate his relaxed repartee.
Andy Zaltzman: Satirist For Hire - Blindfold Cliff-Edge Unicorn Brexit Britain Bogus Prime Minister Democrageddon American Elections Cricket World Cup General State of the World Specials is at The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4 until 25 August.