Yianni’s optimism and trademark nerdiness combine for a show that is refreshingly devoid of cynicism. The show is built around the idea of success and ‘thinking big’, using some great examples from his own life to illustrate notions of failure (the Death Slide), competition (musical chairs) and resentment for others’ success, levelled against an ‘unnamed’ comedian. Rather than feeling forced, these stories are woven seamlessly into the fabric of the theme, with an overwhelming feeling of positivity. His ultimate aim this year with the show is to sell out Edinburgh’s largest venue, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, proving that it’s OK to set your goals high. In the midst of Fringe cynicism, with so many acts complaining repeatedly on the comedy circuit about venue prices and the exclusivity of venues for household names, Yianni’s idea is admirable, particularly as a relative unknown.
The fun punnery and equations (such as the mathematical formula for bitching) from his past shows is still present and provides some of my favourite material in the set. However, there are numerous times when some jokes fall flat. He deals with this well, with an easygoing rapport with the audience, deconstructing and self-analysing the jokes with self-deprecating humour. This occasionally gets tired, but at least shows some self-awareness. Some of his best moments were actually off-the-cuff with the audience, and shows that perhaps there is a lot more skill than is necessarily demonstrated in his scripted show.
It was a very enjoyable hour and I urge people to help make Yianni’s dream come true. By setting this precedent, Yianni could be doing something truly inspiring and can perhaps spur him on to bigger and better sets, honing his already enjoyable technique.