For the avoidance of doubt, it’s worth saying upfront that this is satire. If Martin Urbano believed any of the stuff that came out of his mouth then this would be less a review and more a witness statement to the police.
You see, Martin Urbano – despite this being his Edinburgh Fringe debut – has been cancelled. Riffing off the ‘anti-woke comedian’ stchick, and exploring the (disappointingly brief) demise of acts like Louis CK and Bill Crosby, Urbano presents a masterclass in shock comedy, and holds a lens up to the worst of humanity.
Whenever you get one of these ‘cancelled’ comedians who are just ‘saying the quiet part out loud’, it’s something that can go one of two ways; it can be hilarious, or utterly shit. I’m pleased to say that Martin Urbano falls comfortably into the first camp. The execution is sublime, delivered with the level of sardonic deadpan required to really sell the bit. At times, it was all Urbano could do to keep a straight face as he tried to deliver some horrendous punchline.
This is definitely a show that won’t appeal to everyone. There was approximately a 15-minute segment dedicated to paedophile jokes, but there was plenty of time for other -isms to get their turn: sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, nothing was off limits. There were definitely people in the audience who hated the show, and – much like with Jack Tucker – that made it all the more delicious.
So, a five star show, right? Yes, but only just – I have some notes. I was frequently in stitches, either from Urbano’s remarks or the appalled comments coming from the people next to me, but at the same time, I know that Urbano has so much more to give, and I think he can further polish this show to really elevate it. I would love to see what Urbano could do if he fully embodied the character of this absolute asshole. The show was billed as a ‘comeback’ but I don’t think there was enough made of the allegations, and that backstory could really be leaned into – I could easily envisage mock news stories and testimonies. And, although I enjoyed the visible discomfort of the audience member he brought on stage, I don’t think it worked as a conclusion to the show, it just felt a bit… anticlimactic?
Despite these nitpicks, this is definitely a show that earns its rating, and I strongly encourage you to go and see it.
You can see the most controversial person to attend the Pleasance Courtyard since Jerry Sadowitz last year at 21:45 in Bunker 3 until 27 August.