Review: Alan Shed's "Music, Comedy & Everything Else Interactive Quiz Show", Great Yorkshire Fringe, York, July 26 and 27

"IT'LL be funny, even if it isn't," reads the promotional poster, which in itself raises a smile.

Self-deprecating humour is often a way to get audiences on side, and it was to the fore early on in Alan Shed's "Music, Comedy & Everything Else Interactive Quiz Show", as he touched upon his failed previous attempt at stand-up in 2003.

In this second go, he uses the cover of a "SpeedQuiz" to shield any potential failure and drown out the sound of possible tumbleweed. "It doesn't matter if it's not funny - it's a quiz!" he pretty much declares.

Thing is, it is funny, and quiz-standard clever. Good enough, indeed, to bag a daily slot at the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe.

SpeedQuizzing, which has been taking off in the UK and beyond in recent years, is the modern pub quiz. Players use tablets as opposed to pens and paper, with rapid-fire questions thrown at them and bonus points awarded for those answering the fastest. There's no Google cheating here.

Alan (real name Alan Leach) is the man behind the concept. He is also, incidentally, the man behind the drums in York's indie giants, Shed Seven, hence the change of surname for these gigs.

A dab hand at hosting such SpeedQuizzes in his home city, he now turns one, or rather extends it, into a comedy routine, not only with amusing questions but a few humorous quips and tangents based around them. Some are funny, some funny even though they're not funny.

Given the popularity of these quizzes across York, the Friday night slot in the Arts Barge naturally sells out so organisers put on a second date in the bigger Rotunda for Saturday afternoon.

The fact the audience plays along in the quiz provides an interaction you won't see elsewhere, with Leach an assured host. At times he seems as amused as anyone that even his worst gags bring laughter, but the comedy element does work too - even the quips about Michael Jackson and the "even more taboo" subject of Sam out of Sam & Dave shooting his wife in the face.

Review by George James