Thom Tuck’s stand-up show,
Tuck’s clear capability of writing good material was somehow lost with this show
Quite a considerable portion of the show’s material centres on Islam, including the show’s big reveal, but its inclusion in the show comes across as gratuitous, capitalising on topical politics without really saying anything. Many comics this year at the Fringe are, unsurprisingly, addressing ISIS and talking about Islam (some in brilliantly important ways, such as British-Kurdish comedian Kae Kurd) but Tuck, a white non-Muslim comedian, is ill-positioned to make half the jokes he does. When he quizzed the audience on the five pillars of Islam, it struck a jarring chord; it was unclear why this was such a focus of his show alongside anecdotes such as about DJing a midday roller-disco.
The Mail on Sunday’s branding of Tuck as ‘the next David Mitchell’ led me to expect some erudite political commentary blended in with the silliness of Tuck’s clown-like character. Previously part of The Penny Dreadfuls, Tuck is now in his fourth foray into solo comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe. When his set ran slightly short, on a suggestion from an audience member, he performed a snippet of material from a previous showl Thom Tuck Goes Straight To DVD. That show earned him a Best Newcomer nomination in 2011, and just five minutes of it were so much better than An August Institution that I almost felt annoyed that Tuck’s clear capability of writing good material was somehow lost with this show.