Martin Urbano: “Apology Comeback Tour” at Edinburgh Fringe 2023

***1/2 (out of 5)

There’s Martin Urbano the man and comedian. And then there’s “Martin Urbano” on this comeback tour after apologizing for, what now? To be clear, the comedy show you’re seeing at Fringe is a straight-up parody of stand-up comedy, particularly the brand of “edgy” male comedian stubbornly telling the same old jokes racism homophobia and sexism, despite already being compelled by society to apologize for his past jokes and behavior. Think of him as somewhere akin to the characterization of “Rodney Dangerfield,” who got “no respect” for good reason, but much closer to Andrew “Dice” Clay, whose onstage shtick always proudly proclaimed he didn’t need the audience’s respect.

The comedians he’s lampooning have leaned into their infamy and gained new audiences to replace the ones who’ve turned in their fan club cards. But they’re not in the joke, and cannot be, in the way Urbano is.

That said, it’s a tricky character to pull off ironically, even at Fringe. That Urbano has enough self-awareness to write perhaps his funniest lines roasting his own character, and invite an audience member onstage to deliver them, is telling.

Martin Urbano: Apology Comeback Tour runs through Aug. 27 at Pleasance Courtyard Bunker Three

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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