Sheer niceness is an underrated quality in comedy. Luca Cupani’s hour is driven by it.
Luca Cupani: Lives I Never Lived, Just the Tonic at The Mash House, Edinburgh ****
The better he gets as a comedian – and he is getting better all the time – the less his niceness seems like simply a characteristic and more like a superpower. This show has a neat and clever theme, being an examination of some of the careers he fancied but never took up. Which, in hindsight, is just as well for the Catholic Church, the French Foreign Legion and the Japanese Samurai sword industry.
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Cupani has a very distinctive song, in which the ends of the lines either tail away, or are left to us, the audience to finish, the result being that he never says anything bad about anyone, he simply starts off the thought and lets us finish it. It is a beguiling technique.
Horrific suicide techniques, the appalling crimes of the Catholic Church and even the tragedy of Fukoshima get his gentle ‘less is more’ treatment. And along the way there is some classic Cupani as his adolescent penis and testicles see the light of day again for an hilarious five minutes. He is also capable of fantastic moments of reductio ad absurdum, as he ponders the whole ‘life flashing in front of you’ thing. And, quite unexpectably, we are treated to a fun section on the complexity of Japanese grammar.
This show is a huge tangle of comedy pathways all lit up by his charm and gently bewildered persona. The ending is messy and he should consider dumping the shark but otherwise, this is a lovely hour.
Until 25 August