Ken Cheng review – fringe's 'funniest joke' teller is a calculating comic

Vault festival, London
In Best Dad Ever, the ex-poker player and maths nerd has
constructed a meticulous show of well-turned gags

Ken
Cheng
was known as “the human calculator” at school, and
quit university to become a professional poker player. No surprise
then that his comedy – at least in this touring show, Best Dad
Ever – can feel, well, strategic. That’s partly a positive:
Cheng’s rites-of-passage narrative is meticulously constructed,
skilfully weaving its family histories and strands of
autobiographical standup. But it lacks wildness. Strong routine
follows strong routine, but each one is delivered as moderately as
the last, and the comic temperature rises only so far.

Cheng won the
Funniest Joke of the Fringe

award
in 2017, and styles himself as a mathematical master of
the well-turned gag. Best Dad Ever isn’t notable for its
one-liners, but there are some choice compact routines, on
immigrants’ hostility to more recent immigrants, on his mum’s
hoarding habit (cue topical Marie Kondo jokes) and on Santa’s
stake in China’s social credit system. Odd, then, that the title
routine feels weak, as Cheng strains to explain why a Toblerone bar
with “Best Dad Ever” inscribed on it is a duff gift.

Source: FS – All Tech News 2
Ken Cheng review – fringe's 'funniest joke' teller is a calculating comic