Mat Ewins: Actually Can I Have Eight Tickets Please | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Mat Ewins: Actually Can I Have Eight Tickets Please

Note: This review is from 2019

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Few people put quite so much effort into being so stupidly juvenile as Mat Ewins

His shows have come to encompass multimedia way beyond the simple PowerPoint presentation. For the 2019 edition, he’s coded games, created deep-fake video footage (though you might be able to see the join) and animated full-on CGI sequences, even if Legs are a recurring problem, as an hilariously ridiculous Toy Story scene shows.

It’s incredibly impressive but done with plenty of amateurism to reinforce the comedy. Ewins is acutely aware of the folly of his pointless endeavours, but embraces it, explaining just how much investment he has to put into the dumbest throwaway gag. Not all the jokes are on screen; the biggest one is standing next to it, and perfectly happy to take that role.

To illustrate the recklessness of his approach, he points out that if most comics have to ditch a gag that doesn’t work, it might be a couple of hours down the pan. For him, it could be days of rendering graphics.

He’s very good at creating running jokes – the most established of which is that he has never used a picture of himself in the publicity, a gag purely for his own amusement. This year’s programme image, above, came from a stock photo library, even though Ewins accepts that hiding his identity is probably costing him a lot in ticket sales. But commitment to the idea, however ill-advised, is his calling card.

This hour is ostensibly a ‘how to get rich’ seminar, though it comes as no surprise that he hasn’t got the answer. Instead, he’s got recurring jokes about the Coca-Cola Christmas ads, tells us of the haunted castle he’s inherited and replays his blink-and-you’ll-miss it appearance on Live At The Apollo and so much more. 

Nerds already lured in by the tech element will be happy with the skit about TV aspect ratios or the voice-controlled game he created with the most preposterous of premises (side note: Foxdog Studios have a broadly similar bit in their show). Though those geeks will probably be less happy with Ewin’s disdain for QI.

He packs so much in, and the time zips by so quickly you won’t believe it when the hour’s up. The only time the frantic pace lets up is for a game-show section that runs out of momentum way too quickly.

Ewins is sometimes naughty in the most winningly juvenile way, too. Though one previous punter thought the show was unmitigated filth, prompting the comedian to fight stupidity with stupidity – and he’s by far the better-armed. So he doubles down on the hilariously puerile.

For instance, the opening scene is essentially the PornHub version of Robot Wars, and Ewins’ planned kids’ show is just as idiotically inappropriate as you would hope it to be. A couple of sketches could be gruesome, too, but he stops just short of showing that.

Lest you think this is just mucking about, there’s apparently real art in all this nonsense too. He was devastated to find that one idea that he spent time and money on – including a lot of 3D printing – had previously been done by Banksy. Either Ewins is a lot smarter than he lets on, or Banksy has to be dumber if the ‘great minds think alike’ maxim is true.

His tongue-in-cheek catchphrase is: ‘Who is this show for?’ And the answer is: anyone who likes nonsensical stupidity, with a happy idiot presenting the fruits of his considerable, if hilariously misguided, labours.

Review date: 21 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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