Myq Kaplan: All Killing Aside | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Myq Kaplan: All Killing Aside

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

He has already got several well-received comedy specials under his belt, but only now is New York-based Myq Kaplan making his Fringe debut.

And what an assumed show it is, as he offers a perfect fusion of the smart and the dumb, overthinking every topic to find not only great insight but also great jokes from his idiosyncratic questioning of the world. 

He can ponder the fleeting human existence in the near-infinite expanse of space and time one moment, then be doing a daft pun about pasta the next.

The New York-based comic's skill is that there's no abrupt gear change between the two sides: he makes the profound silly and the silly profound until they meet in the middle.

His meticulous approach to comedy makes this a tightly-structured show, every apparent digression ultimately and satisfyingly feeding back into the whole, from a virtuoso routine about Nickelback to anecdotes about hecklers who've ruined his shows, to a twist on the What Would Jesus Do trope. 

He jokes that All Killing Aside is the Inception of comedy, with routines nesting inside each other, and – like almost everything he says – it's hard to argue about that. But when the routines mesh together, it’s very satisfying.

Yet although every word is carefully considered, Kaplan delivers his intricate, existentialist show with a light touch. This never feels like he's intellectually showboating, more that he's had time on his hands to come up with some unique insight into how the world works. A session on the powerful, shaman-administered hallucinogen ayahuasca – the same consciousness-expanding drug Simon Amstell has spoken about - might have helped, too. 

His awareness extends to himself, with some quips about his nerdy intensity,  how his veganism is considered wacky by others, and deconstructing his own work. Jokes acknowledging how niche he is immediately widen his appeal, while those that highlight how meticulously put-together his routines are never distract from the distinctive and funny ideas at their core. 

Such restraint just adds to the classiness of Kaplan's work, meaning he should be making any comedy connoisseur’s ‘to see’ list. Ironically, All Killing Aside is almost guaranteed to kill.

Review date: 3 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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