A sure contender for Best Title for a Comedy Show at this year’s Fringe, George Zacharopoulos’s riches-to-rags tale is just as entertaining as it sounds. As storytelling the show undoubtedly succeeds; as stand-up though there are a few problems.
When he deliberately went off on a tangent to milk some more humour out of proceedings, Zacharopoulos was actually less amusing than when he let events speak for themselves
His tale could easily make the plot of a novel or cult film: after being dumped by his agent and girlfriend in the space of three days, Zacharopoulos moved out of their shared flat and was made homeless. Over the course of a year, he went on a wild ride involving sex, drugs and bed bugs, culminating in an odd encounter with a violent muffin-thief. Zacharopoulos’s personality and narration is almost as appealing as his slightly mad experiences, and it’s all told with wit and verve.
As stand-up though, the show was less successful. Although Zacharopoulos made everything that happened to him even funnier than it must have been at the time, there weren’t many really good, laugh-out-loud jokes. The main punchline tended to be the absurdity of whatever situation he had found himself in, and the occasionally bizarre ways he reacted to events. When he deliberately went off on a tangent to milk some more humour out of proceedings, Zacharopoulos was actually less amusing than when he let events speak for themselves, such as a slightly pointless digression about babies and aeroplanes.
Today’s show was occasionally in danger of flopping and few laughs were forthcoming, but Zacharopoulos was the first to admit this. In an unexpected twist, however, he garnered huge laughs when he started riffing about the show’s apparent failure after he’d finished his material, and then added the most hilarious ‘worst stand-up show’ anecdote I’ve ever heard. Zacharopoulos is clearly a very funny person and the content of his material was excellent, but the jokes just could have done with being better integrated into the story.
Today may have been an off-day; even so the set was still very high quality for a free gig in a small venue. I’d definitely recommend going along to hear Zacharopoulos recount his tale of making the most of the times when life goes off the rails – before long somebody’s bound to buy the film rights!