Zach Zucker: Spectacular Industry Showcase | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Zach Zucker: Spectacular Industry Showcase

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

New Yorker Zach Zucker has won cult kudos at previous Fringes with his alter ego, Jack Tucker, a hack but high-energy comedian clawing at success – or even the brief, shallow validation of a laugh – out of wretched desperation.

Performing under his own name, many of the tropes are the same, even if he has dialled the mania down from 10 to maybe 8. But the premise of a comic trying too hard to make it still underpins the show, with Zucker taking to the stage in an unbuttoned sequinned shirt and doing sprightly high-kicks as he blasts material – or just pure energy –  at the audience.

He’s still happy to sacrifice dignity for a gag, and that seems a nobler aim out of character than in it, and still maintains that edgy unpredictability. He’s a loose performer, flying off at tangents and acting on every whim his fizzing mind throws out, as well as playfully teasing the audience about what he might do next. The zany energy is irresistible, and he gets so many laughs simply from mucking about he stops to ask: ‘Why do I even try to write jokes?’

However, there are plenty of proper gags here. Zucker’s not afraid of cheesiness or an agonising pun, and his embrace of the form at its most ridiculous proves an asset, convoluting words in new ways.

Since this is a Spectacular Industry Showcase, he’s also keen to show off his range of character work, such as the cheesy seducer Antonio Balonio or his terrible rapper Lil Penis Johnson, or be taken seriously by reading a poem in what he insists is his authentic British accent.

Some of these are indulged too much, outstaying their welcome, some are presented as relative throwaways.  The quality is undeniably patchy, but the vibrancy of Zucker’s powerhouse, knockabout performance is alluring.

•Zach Zucker: Spectacular Industry Showcase is on at Monkey Barrel Comedy at 7.50pm. His Jack Tucker alter-ego returns for three shows at Pleasance Dome at 11.15pm on August 14, 21 and 28

Review date: 10 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

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