Some preliminaries: first, calling something "clowning" doesn't give you license to get away with anything. That's doubly true if you throw "Gaulier" into the mix. Second, double-act Zach Zucker and Viggo Venn have the best names I've ever heard. Third, and related to the second, I have difficulty accepting these are their real names. Fourth, I can't believe they've prepared so little for their Fringe show. I count five semi routines, and a lot of...well, I'm not quite sure what.
Which, really, is the thing about Zach & Viggo. None of what we see tonight has any substance or makes any sense at all. Are Zach and Viggo real? Is this really the shambles they set out to deliver?
And yet, it's all strangely alluring. I might just be swayed by a surfeit of charisma, but it's tempting to believe there's a plan here. Let's be clear, there's clearly not some deeper meaning being groped for – Zach and Viggo aren't seeking profundity in dick jokes. But they do have undoubted flair for wringing laughter out of an audience in spite of the paucity of the material they offer them.
Here's what I think is going on. There's a very thin line between bad choices and bold choices, and most of Zach & Viggo's choices are bad ones. The done-to-death check-list; the under-prepared Shakespeare speech which feels like Zach has over-estimated how much magic he can work on the fly. But it's not entirely ambition without justification. The pair can create magic out of, to take one example, a lifeguard rescue. It's a sketch that demonstrates how the duo can set up a simple framing device but still leave enough clear water within it for them to do something unexpected. With the right vehicle for, well, whatever it is they do, Zucker and Venn could call themselves whatever they like and it'd be funny.