Comedy review: The Comedy Zone

First published online for The Skinny

The Comedy Zone is a Fringe institution, the longest running showcase on the festival, and this year’s offering brings a mix of quality and substance.

Compere Iain Stirling hangs the night together wonderfully – friendly and cheeky with a warm and likeable persona. Opening act Hari Kondabolu then sets the bar high for the evening. The US comic approaches race issues from an original angle and keeps the audience attentive and amused with intelligent material. Next up, in sharp contrast, comes Paul Currie, whose slapstick set is perhaps most kindly described by a line I heard from a girl at the bar afterwards: ‘It’s funny because it’s not’.

Closer Phil Wang has some fantastic lines and a fresh approach, but his race material falls slightly flat, and it wasn’t the best programming decision to put two performers with such similar material in the same line up, especially bookending such a radically different style. Wang is a good act, but suffers by comparison to Kondabolu, who is a great act.

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