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Last Updated: Friday, 1 August, 2003, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Barschak terrorises comedy
By Jenny Green
BBC News Online

Aaron Barschak made his name gatecrashing Prince William's 21st birthday but is his Edinburgh show any good?

Aaron Barshak
Funny man? Not really
The main problem with Barschak's show is that he doesn't even think he is funny.

He spent the first few minutes of his act, Osama Likes It Hot, railing against the press and telling the audience not to laugh.

Beforehand some of the audience wondered whether his celebrity gatecrashing had gone to his head as he kept us waiting in the cramped stairwell of the Underbelly venue.

The comedy terrorism started at the doorway to the show as a couple in combat fatigues grilled people about whether they were journalists or genuine punters.

This became a recurrent theme of Barschak's bumbling take on comedy.

He set his scene with a jangling guitar anthem about 15 minutes of fame as the audience read photocopies of a Mail on Sunday article about the effects of his royal stunt.

Barshak burst onto - and off - the stage in his Guantanamo orange jumpsuit.

Self-publicist

When he began his routine proper his discomfort was as apparent as that of the media monkeys who had cajoled their way into his gig - which was no mean feat in itself.

Unsurprisingly it seemed that the best self-publicist since Geri Halliwell couldn't live up to his hype.

There were a few laughs - which startled nobody more than Barschak - but his lack of confidence and well-practised material made for a difficult watch.

With such little evidence of scripted material it is also little wonder that the sceptical community of comics are out to lynch him.

Barschak had pointed this out with chagrin, as he explained his "philosophy of comedy terrorism", yet on several occasions he suggested the audience should get their money back.

Much of his time was spent telling his version of his challenge to royal security, which was interesting if not always very funny.

A bit of audience participation raised his spirits and he managed a passable routine about Middle Eastern politics with a re-working of a favourite boardgame Barschak called Hebron-opoly.

Maybe it is inevitable the most original thing about the Comedy Terrorist is his publicity techniques, but it is strange that Barschak's media antics have left him so paranoid about the press.

Barschak summed up his circumstances in a rare moment of clarity: "I tried to hijack fame but then fame hijacked me."

Whatever he claims, Aaron Barschak wants laughs rather than the pity his current performance commands.





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