Mike Wozniak says his new show is a mix of ‘personal horror, outrage and facts’. But it’s best to take that all with a pinch of salt. Though there’s certainly outrage – the moustachioed comic whips himself into a fiery fury as he retells his tale – his ‘personal horror’ is wonderfully overplayed, and his ‘facts’ are just plain silly.
The bulk of Wozniak’s show is built around a ‘shaggy cat story’. After his last trip to Edinburgh, he arrived home in Exeter to find an angry feline had stowed itself in his car boot and went undetected throughout the ‘grueling nine hour drive’.
What follows is his increasingly frustrated attempt to reunite the pet with its Edinburgh owners, while the mog seemingly does everything in its power to piss on his efforts (sometimes literally). Wozniak’s an ‘ethical guy’, just trying to do the right thing but, of course, his plans are foiled at every turn, even by the RSPCA and Cat Rescue, which only adds to his bluster.
The ‘Man Down’ star’s elegant phrasing is key to his story’s laugh-count. Each lined is peppered with vivid imagery, and there are enough lightly surreal tangents to hint that he’s well aware of his own absurdity. To ‘cleanse the palette’, Wozniak intersperses his tale with animal-based facts: beautifully wacky one-liners disguised as fascinating stats. Want to know the best method of repelling a crocodile attack? Wozniak’s your guy.
The palette cleansers seem as much a break for him as his audience; a chance to allow his boiling rage to simmer down. But they also help the show keep its pace as, at points, the story teeters on the edge of losing our interest.
But Wozniak largely keeps us hooked in his well-structured tale. Let’s just hope he double-checks his car boot at the end of this year’s fest.