Andy Zaltzman is a comedian who I knew little about prior to me seeing him. Weirdly, I knew him as the brother of Helen Zaltzman, a host on the very funny Answer Me This! podcast. But it was only when he was announced that I found out that he co-hosted a pretty hilarious podcast of his own – The Bugle – and with John Oliver.
And yes, I realise that I am referring to the guy who has made a name for himself getting really huge over in the US with his own weekly show and has really nothing to do with this show here at MICF. But anyway… this review has made the sin of already spending two paragraphs talking about other comedians that Zaltman has a link to rather than actually reviewing his own work on stage at this here little comedy festival. We should probably get onto that, shouldn’t we?
Plan Z starts with Zaltman’s voice in a cute little preamble that twirls into a nice little absurd warning spree that rightly warms up the place prior to him actually getting on stage.
Zaltzman is a pretty fantastically astute comedian who has his finger on the pulse of the news and combines his wit to comment on the problematic situations with a personable style of a quaint Englishman. He twirls all this commentary with quips about his fandom of test cricket, which was an art really to witness as an audience member.
His set also included references to Australian media and politicians as well, which was a mighty welcome addition to his musings on political affairs overseas. In a way, it gave this nice sense of connection to the local audience, which sometimes can seem an awkward inclusion from overseas comedians performing here. In a refreshing change, the local references never felt forced or weird in Plan Z.
Mixing metaphors and putting together strings of thought, Zaltzman demonstrates that he has this beautiful unique way to provide context on these huge major issues that we see in the news cycle into the humblest of wit. He brings us into his world slowly and interestingly, but with this sly tone which is particularly on display with his audience banter. A quiz (of sorts) with a member of the audience showing that despite the political calamity in the world, a good fandom of cricket can always win out.
Andy Zaltzman: Plan Z is playing at the Melbourne Town Hall until April 23rd as part of MICF. More info here.
The reviewer attended the show on March 30th.