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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2003
Osama Likes It Hot
Bearded in a pink dress, the Traniban leader has hijacked Ken Livingstone at the peace march and Eddie Izzard at Spike Milligan's tribute. And something to do with Prince William's birthday, though it barely got a mention in the media...
If nothing else, Aaron Barschak is proof that the Fringe is a meritocracy.
Going to a party he wasn't invited to brought him publicity you just can't buy, but with no discernible talent other than chutzpah, he's still not been able to hang the 'sold out' signs on the door.
Not that this has stopped him being the festival's whipping boy - it's remakable how jealous people can be of things they don't really want.
The show itself is as poor as you might expect; or possibly marginally better, given the universally fierce mauling he's got from the national press.
Barschak's only been a comic for eight months, and not an especially hard-gigging one at that. Stand-ups of similar experience would be lucky to be doing a seven-minute talent contest spot in Edinburgh, let alone attempting the hour-long format that has floored much more accomplished acts.
He also tries to vary sizeable chunks of his set every day, which is equally ambitious, but perhaps a lot easier if, like him, you don't have any classic routines guaranteed to get the laughs that you would be loathe to abandon.
For the most part, it's tiresomely amateur stuff. Weak gags go off at half cock and he clings to props, costumes and his guitar like a drowning man to the flimsiest piece of flotsam.
With embarrassingly lame lines like: "Sexed-up documents? Well Alastair Cambpell did use to be a porn writer," it's no wonder Osama Likes It Hot has been compared to burning orphanages for its comedy value.
As a comedian Barschak is almost utterly incompetent; were he a real terrorist rather than a comedy one, we could all sleep a little sounder in our beds.
However, the key word is 'almost'. There are the faintest glimmers of ideas at work, which in the hands of an experienced comic could even be formed into a joke.
The American contraction of the word 'through' into 'thru' for example, sets him imagining a meeting in which the redundant letters are given the sack. And there are some ideas in his West Bank version of Monoploy - Hebronopoly - that verge on the funny, had they not been crushed by a dismal performance.
Aptly, given the subject matter, Osama Likes It Hot is rife with appalling execution.
Barschak paces the stage nervously, never seeming to know what to do or say next, and poorly articulates every gag. There is a slight amateurish charm to this - he's shit, and he knows he is - which almost makes him endearing. Though that's no basis for a show, obviously.
His anecdotes about his exploits are bearable, too. Mainly because real life provides a structure his imagination seems to struggle with - and there are a couple of actual, identifiable jokes. And you can't deny that there is some interest in hearing how it got away with it.
Despite these slight redeeming features (and his gatecrashing tales have no longevity anyway) this certainly isn't a show you could recommend to anyone.
Most other green new comics would have a disastrous first Edinburgh show, learn from it and slowly become better comics. This may well be true of Barschak, though he hasn't been allowed to fail in obscurity.
His problem is that he will be forever known as the weirdo who broke into Windsor Castle. As a comic, he only has a novelty interest, and novelty, by definition, always wears off.
By the time he does get any good - and that's likely to be a long time away yet - people will surely be past caring about him.
He seems a nicer bloke than alot of other stand-ups. I think he's a real trouper. His Hebronopoly board game is ingenious.
Went along to this show with a sort of closed mind, and the intention of laughing inwardly at how bad everyone says this show was. However within a few minutes, this turned to inner anger. The room was half full, yet still that was 35 or so people more than he deserved for these very early open spot ramblings with no punchlines. A number of people also walked out throughout the hour. Aaron, and his sister who tried to stage manage the show - badly, are just two spoilt little rich kids, who went to daddy for money to pay for this, and from it they are trying to make more. Others out there, are losing hundreds, if not thousands but are out they're being funny and have worked hard. An utter shambles and crap beyond anything.