Comedy review: Andy Zaltzman

First published online for The Skinny

The SkinnyIt’s amazing how much you can tell from a Fringe show by its audience as you come in. For Zaltzman’s show, everyone seemed to be wearing glasses. The couple behind me were wondering if the bar served coffee, and debating where to go afterwards for tea and cake.

This feel was very much reflected in the feel of Andy Zaltzman’s show. With a set resembling a 1950s study, the usual housekeeping announcements before the show were replaced by announcements and ‘bonus jokes’ from Zaltzman. It’s a nice touch to set the scene for what was a gentle stroll of a show, in which Zaltzman uses comic metaphor and brilliantly terrible wordplay to popular effect.

The show is based on the premise that we lack the vitality for proper political uprising in this country.

Then, the night I saw this show, the England riots hit, and I couldn’t help but wonder how this had affected the show. I decided to ask the man himself.
Zaltzman told me that he did have to make changes to the show in the aftermath of events: “That’s the problem with these rioters,” he tells me “they just don’t think about the consequences of their actions. Having just finally settled on how and where to do everything, I then had to change it all.”

That’s what I love about this artform; it’s the most immediate form there is. Acts can spend months working on a show only to have world events blow it sideways. From speaking to those who have seen Zaltzman’s show more recently, it seems that it’s picked itself back up in an even more intriguing shape than before.

Therein lies the true beauty of comedy.

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