Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal have become fixtures of the Fringe, reliably delivering a dose of quirky New York comedy to Edinburgh in August. This year they have transplanted their cult variety show, Hot Tub, to Assembly’s Bosco tent for a short run.
Hot Tub begins promisingly, with comedy band Adira Amram and the Experience delivering a high-energy introduction. Kurt and Kristen’s initial material is strong and offbeat, particularly Kurt’s testing of whether their audience is, in fact, the hottest at the Fringe. These two are obviously used to working as a double act and it shows. This is unquestionably the most successful segment of the show.
Tonight the guests are both comedians: Gareth Richards, whose comic songs most notably feature a hilarious take on the dynamics of Nick Clegg and David Cameron’s relationship, and Hannibal Buress, whose laid-back cerebral style of genuinely funny observational comedy marks him out as one to watch. We also get Adira and her dancers doing a few songs at the end of the show. And whilst they are perfect in their supporting roles throughout, their material proves too weak to stand alone.
Kurt and Kristen also each perform solo slots, but these are noticeably weaker than their interplay with each other. And there is a sketch, chosen by an audience member, which has potential but is underdeveloped and ultimately less amusing than the method used to choose said sketch.
These weaknesses aside, this is still an innovative and amusing show. And Kurt and Kristen remain a safe bet amongst the Fringe’s comedy strand.
12-27 Aug 1935 (2050) @ Assembly George Square