Damien Slash: Übermen

‘Hi, Eric Swineblade,’ says a bluetooth-enabled gumph-bot at the door, proffering his executive, solutions-providing hand. ‘Are you on Twitter? Tinder? LinkedIn?’

The calibre of Übermen’s opening and closing scenes suggests it could make a brilliant – and brilliantly up-itself – concept show about the counterintuitive regression of the modern world.

It’s an undeniably strong start to Damien Slash’s hour of character comedy: when we’ve all taken our seats, he embarks on a vacuous, nonsensical and extremely funny improvised talk about business, or ‘what it’s about’, or something. He hasn’t a clue what he’s on about; there’s probably a depressingly high number of not-quite-hims toadying around the country, getting paid far too much to do very, very little.

The strength of Swineblade as a world-skewering creation – he’s one of Slash’s YouTube hits – suggests we’re in for an hour of funny and semi-insightful comedy; this isn’t quite the case. Slash’s changes of character are backed by a totally separate voiceover narrative that ends one scene-change early, leaving a dangling radio piece before the conclusion of the show; the selection of intervening characters is about as well considered.

There’s the greasy gambling addict on crutch (singular) who gabbles in smirk-worthy non-sequiturs. Then there’s the lame-ass gaming instructor who, drinking something out of a tin, leches just too much on a girl in the front row. Is she cool with playing along, for the joke? Are we cool with her having to play along – you know, just for the creepy joke?

I’ve seen enough of that this year to know that the answer is no: no we’re not.

The length of these segments and the general ubiquity of these characters as figures of ridicule makes them drag, but it’s not just that they’re not timely; as parodies of social rejects, it’s actually their bullying heartlessness that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

So it’s a good thing when we reach the palate-cleansing finale, a pretentious mineral water tasting session led by Piero Pisswhall, PhD. He – and the preceding garage-rap book club – bring us back to slightly unreal, hubristic territory, and the show is all the better for it.

The calibre of Übermen’s opening and closing scenes suggests it could make a brilliant – and brilliantly up-itself – concept show about the counterintuitive regression of the modern world. Counterintuitive regression is about all the rest of the show manages.

Reviews by Larry Bartleet

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

With one million YouTube hits and counting, Damien Slash brings his character comedy creations to Edinburgh in glorious 4D. Meet his 'wonderful, distinct, impressive' (Chortle.co.uk) creations including Mineral Water Critics, Mythical Shamans, Hardcore Gamers, Garage MCs, Gambling Addicts and more. As seen in the hugely popular web-series Ideas Men, featured during YouTube Comedy Week. One of London is Funny's 10 Comics to Look Out For, from Channel 4's Mashed and BBC's Richard Hammond's Secret Service. 'A hugely talented writer and performer whose observations and creativity are as brilliant as they're funny' (ComedyBlogedy.com). 'Soon to be massive' (NME).