Jake Yapp | Review by Steve Bennett
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Jake Yapp

Review by Steve Bennett

Jake Yapp starts with a tour-de-force sketch in which he recreates the entire Edinburgh Fringe in a few short minutes, from jaded stand-ups to preppy drama students – a sharp satire which he acknowledges as ‘cruel and unwarranted’, but is hilariously close to home.

It’s similar to the distilled pieces he’s previously done for Charlie Brooker’s Wipe programmes; and ends by turning his sights on himself, a ‘forlorn’ festival hopeful ‘desperately trying to transmute a career in television that’s lasted less than two minutes into some kind of viable career path’.

Impressive though this preface is, it’s atypical of the hour as a whole, which takes an intelligent, and mature big-picture look at the world we’re in, with only sparing use of his versatile vocal talents.

This is a show that name-checks Hippocrates, documentary-maker Adam Curtis (another occasional Wipe contributor) and public relations pioneer Edward Bearnaise, sometimes to the small, excited trill of someone in the audience who shares a geeky passion. This show is so well researched that the wanking jokes virtually come with footnotes.

Yapp’s thesis is broadly about our tribal behaviour and common personality types, and how these can be manipulated by the marketeers. His own tribes include vegan, cyclist, hipster-hater and father (and a father who struggles to square the reality of parental love with its romanticised fiction.)

With the big topics and erudite touchstones, Yapp’s first Fringe show in seven years can seem a little like a lecture. He’s often in no hurry with his material either, and there are sections here that are way too verbose for the payoff, the veganism bit for starters. How ironic that the man known for compressing tropes into bite-sized parodies can go on a bit.

But when he gets onto the main strands of his show, the more considered approach starts to pay off, as he has the space to take the audience deeper into the subjects to eke out wit in the obscure. Fans of quirky fact-based podcasts such as No Such Thing As A Fish will be satisfied, and there are plenty of funny passages here.

Well-spoken, affable and relaxed, Yapp’s a natural communicator and builds up a gently teasing relationship with one or two of the audience members most ready to contribute. But more direct stand-up experience would probably give him sharper instincts for speeding up the sections that need it, without sacrificing the smartness and the curiosity that serve him so well.

Review date: 6 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly George Square

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