Andy Zaltzman John Candy Box Theatre, Toronto ON, October 22
Published Oct 23, 2016
With his balding yet gigantic ginger jewfro, it would be easy to compare Andy Zaltman’s looks to a clown, but his sense of humour couldn’t be farther from that of a children’s birthday party entertainer. Zaltzman’s satirical performance was a world class display of bitter British absurdity, chockfull of brilliant one-liners and jabs at authority figures.
In his hour-and-a-half show at the intimate but packed John Candy Box Theatre, he delighted everyone, from his fantastically nerdy fans to the woman near at the back of theatre who was shockingly oblivious about politics.
During his show, it was abundantly clear that Zaltzman is a very intelligent man. Much like John Oliver, his ex-cohost of the beloved podcast The Bugle, Zaltzman can swiftly and shrewdly take the piss out of anything he sets his mind to. To start his act, he tackled the obvious hot topic of Donald Trump, then explained that sports are an important way to distract yourself from “the realities of… well, reality.” He also skewered John Oliver by finding one man in the audience who didn’t know who John Oliver was, then triumphantly pointing out “That man doesn’t know who John Oliver is, but everyone in this room knows who Andy Zaltzman is!”
Additionally, Zaltzman set up a “machine” consisting of a pineapple, a cable, and a router that amusingly translated people’s statements into what they really meant. The machine translated Trump saying “There will be no lies” into “There will obviously be lies.” translated an audience member saying “I’m a big fan of your work” to “I wish I was seeing John Oliver,” and played an error message when asked to assess the phrase “Brexit is Brexit.”
Most impressively, Zaltzman ended his show by satirizing topics sent in by the audience only hours before the show. The subjects that were submitted ranged from “cute fucking pandas” to Mary Queen of Scots, but Zaltzman lampooned all of them with equal skill. Even when the English egghead was given topics he knew nothing about such as the CFL and residential schools, he was still able to garner big laughs and cut deep by probing the audience for more information, then quipping back at the crowd with his caustic yet self-effacing comedic wit.