Cards Against Humanity is a game that attempts to extract the funniest and most awful responses from its players. With each player equipped with a hand of answers meant to answer the question being asked, it’s a modern-day parlour game for the South Park generation.
Fine for freshers week, but when combined with three awkward improv comedians and an overzealous compere on a Sunday night, Cards / Comedians Against Humanity becomes an exercise in painful ad-libbing and not especially funny jokes.
In fairness, host Yianni Agisilaou works hard at rallying the audience, and his improvisations were probably the most skilled of the evening. But the other three comedians – a rosta which changes every night – looked tired, slightly bored and already fairly jaded on what was the first night of the show.
With multiple rounds of differeing set ups, including a book launch, a news report, and an interrogation interview, the comedians were given ample assistance to come up with witty suggestions and comebacks to the cards’ prompts.
But repeatedly, just when it seemed like one of the performers were being led by the hand into a joke, the improv fell flat. Rather than a substantive show, Comedians Against Humanity felt like an extended but poorly executed advertisement for their own individual shows at the Fringe – the performance was even stopped half way through by the producer handing a note to Agisilaou, to remind him to inform the audience of free entry into a dance event after the show.
With an ever changing line-up, some nights of Comedians Against Humanity are inevitably going to be better than others. If you want a couple of late night laughs, you might enjoy it. But the show felt clunky, laboured, and without any real confidence in its own premise.
Comedians Against Humanity is playing 6th - 13th, 15th - 26th August at 11pm at Pleasance Dome (Ace Dome)