You remember that kid in school who was ferociously talented but didn't really try hard? Still passed all their exams, but did it all with natural talent, and could have beaten everyone if they'd bothered to revise. That's Zach Zucker.
The result is that, when things go right for Zucker, he flies. With a fair wind, an audience behind him, and good suggestions thrown in, he's able to alchemise that into something pretty special. The man has talent and charisma to burn.
But with a bit of a headwind, it's a different story. Zucker has nothing to fall back on when the going gets tough, and that's particularly the case with this show, a deliberately minimalist vehicle clearly designed to give him space to work his magic. Tonight he gives us new material, a "comedy bot" who runs out of battery and can't leave the stage if we don't laugh. There's literally nothing to it beyond that, and feels like a self-imposed test – to what extent can Zucker's gaping, gurning and contorting get him out of a tight spot? Not so easily tonight – though, perhaps on a different night this could catch light.
It's also true that Zucker has had time off this show due to injury, so perhaps one might give him the benefit of the doubt. But I'm not so sure. On balance, this sort of winging it leaves too much in the lap of the gods for a reliably good show. Besides, handsome, charismatic men get the benefit of the doubt all the time. Maybe the kid needs to fail a few exams before realising the importance of revision.