Political Animal, Underbelly
A late-night showcase gig supposedly for political comics (or at least for comics’ political material) devised and hosted by Andy Zaltzman. The show I saw featured Marcus Birdman, Alastair Barrie and Richard Herring.
As compere, Zaltzman produced his trademark inspired ideas and backed them up with excellent gags, dealt with the disruptive audience elements in an effective and idiosyncratic way and, commendably, gave hecklers fair credit where it due.
Marcus Birdman’s set was well paced and crammed with fabulous material. He was easily the biggest hit with the audience and, on this evidence, his solo show should be well worth checking out.
Alastair Barrie took a more improv-based approach and, though it consequently suffered in terms of structure, suggested that forking out for his solo hour would also be money well spent. Particular credit to Barrie for getting the audience back on side when he decided to give up on a routine half-way through.
Last up was Richard Herring whose material, by his own admission, is rarely political in the strictest sense of the word. Perhaps the best that can be said it that of all the Richard-Herring-style, intelligent, sarcastic, ironic, studenty-type comedians, Richard Herring is the best.
NTW : Herring’s tendency to flog a concept to death.
JTD : Birdman’s “pretending to be a Jew” routine.