Comedy Review: Andy Zaltzman

2 Apr

Komedia: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Andy Zaltzman might be an intellectual and comedic powerhouse, peppering his set with references to the likes of the Alternative Vote referendum and the intricacies of the Syrian uprising, but he’s also one who gains his confidence from the appreciation and participation of the audience.

That’s why the first half of his act was a tad shaky. He wasn’t helped by some technical gremlins that shattered the rhythm of his routine, or the antics of a drunk couple at the back, but for the large part his sharp material was let down by his nervy delivery, leading to a somewhat subdued response.

The one exception was when he superbly summarised the tax system with hilarious simplicity. Arguing that kids should get used to wealth distribution at an early age, he said they should leave 23 per cent of the sweets they buy in
the shop. If they buy a big bag, they have to leave 40 per cent, or if they fill a giant rucksack, they can swan out without leaving anything.

This form continued into a far more impressive second half. After establishing that modern day wars were military mismatches, he suggested rectifying the situation with an FA Cup-style draw. From the velvet bag he drew the USA v Russia (“The big match we’ve all been waiting for”), England v India (“It’s likely to be a lot closer than last time”) and Rwanda v Rwanda (“Their first match was a real humdinger, but let’s hope people bother to watch this time”).

Like most of his material, it was cutting, clever and very funny. Sometimes Zaltzman just needs a little bit more faith in his ability to really do it justice on stage.

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