Marcel Lucont, the French laid-back lothario never to be seen without a glass of decent red on the go - and the creation of talented comic Alexis Dubus - would normally come to Edinburgh with his own solo show, ready to wow the crowds with dirty verse and cod-philosophy. This year, though, he's been busy writing a book - "so" he says with a shrug "here we are." And where we are is a chat show format, with two guest comedians taking questions from him about their own shows and whatever else springs to mind.
Josh Howie was the first guest, who gave us a little preview of his show I Am A Dick with stories of his own shambolic - but unintentional - dickishness. For whatever reason, the conversation was a bit stilted - prickly even - but things were definitely livened up by Howie demonstrating his 'party piece' of yo-yoing... with a roll of gaffer tape. Very funny. Zoe Lyons came next and was her usual charming self, veering from angry tirades at motorists that won't let you in, to laughing at how - having met her girlfriend on Lesbos - she feels she's slowly turning into a lesbian stereotype.
The audience were surprisingly subdued audience for a Saturday night - Lucont quickly realised that getting the crowd to ask questions was a bit of a cul de sac - but did provide one of the odder moments of the night. Each guest must undertake a staring content with their host (of course), and when asked how long Howie had managed, a guy on the front row responded with the enigmatic "twenty-two to forty-seven..." The confused ranting this prompted from Lucont was a definite highlight.
The reason the format works, and could get better over the course of the festival, I reckon, is that Dubus has been playing Lucont for so long now that the character is completely fully formed. Dubus knows exactly what Lucont would say in any given situation - something that highlights his own virility, for example, or berates the English.
The fact is, though, while the chats are enjoyable, for me they are far out-stripped by the short snippets of stand-up we get from Marcel. His "50 actual ways to leave your lover" is a truly wonderful set-piece that gets funnier as it gets more absurd, and as for his poetry: pure filth. But great. Did I have fun? Very much so. Would I rather just see a full show from the brilliant Monsieur Lucont? Probably...