Andy Zaltzman: The Bugle Live
- Jay Richardson
- 22 March 2019
A live podcast where the archly esoteric meets the downright silly
Where John Oliver offers the slick, professional polish of the US late-night tradition, his sometime collaborator Andy Zaltzman delivers a much more chaotic, technically ropey satire-swipe at current affairs. But The Bugle Live is no less entertaining for that. Accompanied by producer Chris Skinner for the podcast's maiden show in Glasgow, Zaltzman could also call on a few of his regular co-presenters to contribute, including a sleep-deprived but dryly witty Alice Fraser via internet link from Sydney and Nish Kumar on pre-record. Oliver himself is self-deprecating about his recent animated film roles, while Daniel Kitson also pops up for good measure.
Digs at Oliver began around the ten-minute mark. But this was otherwise impressively topical, the glacial pace of Brexit affording Zaltzman the chance to contrive some typically memorable similes and metaphors about the disaster, at the same time as exploring the possibility of a second referendum. Raising the spectre of Scottish Independence too, he appreciated that he was playing to 'bubbles within bubbles' of like-minded, liberal opinion and indulged in a bit of jocular Jock-teasing.
A late start due to technical gremlins ensured that the recording all felt a bit harried. But Fraser chimed in cuttingly and the show cantered along, Zaltzman mashing up historical events, sporting analogies, tortuous puns and rudimentary PowerPoint with characteristic aplomb, engaging the audience with straw polls and enquiries of 'any fans?' for various bits of obscura.
There was an archly clever digression on stretched, additional meanings for the word 'Leave', but Zaltzman's great strength is to easily combine the esoteric, important and highbrow with the straightforwardly silly. And for all the rather ramshackle back-and-forth, he and Skinner pack an awful lot in, justifying the live spectacle with more visual stimulation than any podcast has a responsibility to deliver.
Andy Zaltzman: The Bugle Live is on tour until Tuesday 8 October. Seen as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival at The Stand, Glasgow.