Words Shawn Moodie
Right off the bat (and yes I am pleased with that opener), you know that UK comedian Andy Zaltzman is going to have a bit of trouble facing the big questions facing the world today.
While his show, Right Questions. Wrong Answers was always going to have a tougher time mocking this year than the previous two (which included two A+ moments of idiocy: Trump and Brexit), Zaltzman is not afraid to mine older issues while still finding a way to conduct satirical examinations on the issues of the day.
In fact, nothing is really safe from his fiendishly sharp satirist takes a swing at everything going on in the world, from Brexit, Trump, ball tampering, the Middle East crisis and everything in-between.
Warming up the crowd with a slickly produced segment that sees Zaltzman attempt (and fail) to adequately answer the world’s most pressing questions as if he was the contestant on a game show, the comedian quickly won over the crowd with his stuttering apologies to the disembodied voice of the game’s imaginary host. The ridiculousness and intricacy of the questions such as ‘Is capitalism good or bad?’ or ‘How do you solve the Middle East crisis?’ followed by clever and imaginative punchlines set the show into an easy rhythm that only ramped up as the night went on. His theatrical analysis of voting logic and his ability to refute arguments humorously was equally impressive.
The comedian, who hosts the highly popular political podcast, The Bugle, is unsurprisingly an impressive wordsmith. His ability to rant and rift off the topics du jour is bested only by bits on his two chief loves – the United Kingdom and cricket — and if you like either of those things, or hearing Zaltzman embarrass both of them in his unique comedic way, then this is definitely a show for you.
At one point he asked the audience to name things that New Zealand did better than Great Britain. He then, in the blink of an eye, crafted a sharp, improvised response for why this wasn’t the case – for the most part, we still beat them at pregnant Prime Ministers and Rugby.
While the is plenty to love about the hour of comedy that was presented to those of us packed into the Rangatira at Q Theatre, it wasn’t the comedians finest (that is an admittedly high bar though). A few of his pre-recorded tape bits fell a bit flat, and those without a keen interest in Britain or cricket
And yes, I get it, any form of reviewing is by its nature subjective. I loved this show immensely (though I am well versed in both cricket and international politics), but it does appear to me that Right Questions. Wrong Answers might have been written with a British audience in mind and then adapted from festival to festival. That said though, there is no denying that the UK funny man is still a true master of satire, and big fans of him won’t be left disappointed.