Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen

Hot Tub is a staple of the New York comedy scene, a quirky variety show hosted by Kurt Braunholer and Kristen Schaal (aka Flight of the Conchord’s deliciously unhinged groupie Mel.) The pair have been performing together for some years, and as they open the show they get good comedy mileage from their awkward and unwillingly platonic chemistry. The zany tone is quickly established with a reading of the hottest crotches in the room, and continued as each guest is escorted on and off stage by a pair of space-age neon-suited dancers. As it’s a variety showcase the line-up changes each night, but I was treated to two established Fringe favourites - shambolic poet and Edinburgh Comedy Award-Winner Tim Key, and Shooting Stars-regular Angelos Epithemou, both of whom won over the crowd with their oddball shtick.The two hosts also did pieces, performing a creepy but entertaining skit about a ventriloquist’s dummy together, as well as a strong solo stand-up set from Braunholer, and an odd cameo from Schaal as Mrs Whoopee Cushion. There was also a musical interlude from house band Adira Amram and the Experience, with a sad ditty about an unfortunate sexual experience. It was all good eccentric fun, although I felt Kurt and Kristen were a little too comfortable in their cult status to really work to win over the crowd. But they have the status to bring in high-calibre guests, and their kooky charm makes this show a good bet for a fun slice of variety at the Fringe.

The Blurb

Hosted by Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal, this cult New York mainstay variety show features comedy from some of the best comics and sketch groups around, along with new music and the occasional oddity.