**** (out of 5)
Last year, Chris Turner showed off his improvised comedy freestyle rap skills in a critically-acclaimed Fringe run called “Rap God.” He’ll be on the big stages again in 2024 with another rap showcase. This year, though, Turner has something else in store for audiences in between in Underbelly’s low-ceiling box called Buttercup.
Because “Vegas, Baby!” finds him at a professional and personal crossroads. And not just because of the pandemic.
Born in Manchester, England, Turner honed his chops in the UK before making his way to the States to, well, make it in the States. Based now in New York City, he broke through in a big way in 2021 with his American TV debut on Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Turner also went viral thanks to Jordan Peterson seeing him perform at the Comedy Cellar and talking about Turner and his act at length on a podcast. All of that didn’t go to Turner’s head, or to his chin. But it did eventually lead to Cirque du Soleil offering the comedy rapper a contract to perform at a brand-new show being launched in 2022 in Las Vegas. Would he take the gig? Should he take the gig, considering Turner and his wife were about to have a baby. Well, she was having the baby. You get it. And so does Turner. So this is a story about how a comedy rapper attempts to embrace the Vegas lifestyle and fatherhood at the same time. Only one wins. Care to wager on which one that is?
Chris Turner: Vegas, Baby! runs through Aug. 27 at Underbelly Bristo Square, Buttercup