Jack Tucker @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Anti-comedy experience is anti-laughs and anti-talent

Review by Rob Young | 19 Aug 2019
  • Jack Tucker: Comedy Stand-Up Hour @ Underbelly, Cowgate

There are probably worse shows at the Fringe this year, but surely there is nothing so lacking in warmth, so lazy, and so utterly repugnant as Zach Zucker’s obnoxious New Yoiker alter-ego assaulting the senses for an hour. Some will hail struggling ‘comedian’ Jack Tucker as a cult hero, single-handedly taking on the stale comedy establishment, but really he is a mask of inadequacy hiding an untalented and cynical act. 

There is nothing inherently evil about the anti-comedy shtick, and Tucker’s look – flies undone, shirt tucked into underpants, sagging eyelids – promises an engaging and depressing exploration of the sad clown. Alas, this show is interesting for all of thirty seconds, before Tucker takes his first tumble on stage. From here, entertainment comes in the form of increasingly irritating sound effects, as if the tech guy is fooling around with a broken Bop-It. Loud gunshots, an eagle’s caw, punches and Lenny Kravitz accompany every other word in the set, testing the limits of comedic repetition. Elsewhere, Tucker – and worryingly, the raucous audience – finds it hilarious to mispronounce names and adopt a speech impediment so that ‘city’ becomes ‘shitty’. Majestic. 

Is this a genius exposure of the low standards of late-night Fringe audiences? Is it a satire of how language has devolved so much that we can only find sounds and snorts hilarious? Is it a bold two fingers to the ‘cleverness’ of lauded Edinburgh shows? Well, it might be any of these things if Zucker’s writing and performance had any sincerity or charm. Instead, a hastily-assembled narrative about an estranged wife and son only add to the emptiness, exposing Zucker as a fraud who is completely out of his depth.

He notes disbelievingly at the end of the hour that he has received two-star reviews for Comedy Stand-Up Hour, which according to him is ridiculous, as there is only one star in the show. One star, indeed.

Jack Tucker: Comedy Stand-Up HourUnderbelly Cowgate (Belly Button), until 25 Aug, 9.20pm, £9-11