Observations: Aczel is a shambles of a comic success

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The Independent Culture

"There will be some mild amusement and a little boredom," says the comedian Ed Aczel, introducing his act. It's hardly the ringing endorsement that you would expect, but that's the way Aczel rolls. Coming to comedy late via an evening course (he continues to hold down a regular job as an account manager for employee benefit schemes), Aczel, 42, graduated from it as bemused as he came in, a state that dictates his style. Slightly embarrassed, awkward and deliberately lacklustre, his shtick has won him second place in the BBC New Comedy Award within 18 months of starting out and a leg-up from Jimmy Carr's Comedy Idol competition, in which he came second in 2006. Carr went on to declare Aczel's 2007 Edinburgh show "the funniest thing on the Fringe" on The Culture Show.

Though considered an anti-comedian with no jokes, Aczel has created some celebrated one-liners: "Machiavelli said, 'It is better to be feared than to be loved, if you cannot be both...' Something to bear in mind when you embark on internet dating." Still, Aczel has yet to give up the day job. He claims that "being an anti-comedian means having an anti-comedian's career in that the more famous I get, the less money I earn." He's unlikely, however, to be risking financial ruin by embarking on a London run – indeed, his stock in the fame stakes can only rise because of it.

Ed Aczel Explains All the World's Problems... and Then Solves Them is at Soho Theatre, London, 22-23, 29-30 January (020 7478 0100; Sohotheatre.com)