The thing about Stavros Halkias: Fat Rascal is that we have a number of thoughts, but none of them are that deep because the show itself isn’t that thought-provoking, despite the extremely baity name of the set. First of all, let us make it clear that Stavros Halkias doesn’t preach anything, and neither does he complain. He is just having fun on stage, though that doesn’t extend to his audience. Stavros Halkias is not shy with the NSFW jokes, but most comedians aren’t. However, only some manage to make them funny, and Stavros Halkias is not one of them. He starts off by talking about his misadventure in the airport and establishing that he is not a nice person. He then goes on to talk about his dating hits and misses, where, surprisingly, he is the nice guy, and he is having a good time.
Now, with that out of the way, let us address the name of the comedy set. It is impossible not to make assumptions about it because of the general discourse around the topic. In our humble opinion, comedians have not learned to talk about fatness or body positivity in the right sense. Making jokes about perceived ‘unattractiveness’ is not the progressiveness people think it is. It is not normalizing anything if the body is the joke. That is not to say that there is no scope to be funny with the topic. There is a clash between the body positivity and fat acceptance movements and the way they intersect within people at different stages of the journey in different demographics. It is an indecipherable cocktail of desirability politics that leaves one with no choice but to laugh at it, because dealing with it in any other way is too consuming and tiring.
Stavros Halkias seems to know that area; he understands how to live his life by leaving behind that noise, and he says the right things. There is no pity, no asking for validation, or even any deprecatory comedy, and it is impossible to express how glad that makes us. However, he is still not funny.
Stavros Halkias runs a podcast, and he is one of the many who failed to understand that what makes a podcast engaging does not make a comedy special funny. To be fair, knowing the name of his podcast and understanding that it is where the bulk of his fame comes from makes it natural that he will choose to make a lot of jokes relating to it. But that was never our complaint. The fact that he doesn’t have a single strong punchline in his special renders the one-hour runtime of it into a mass of white noise. You can play it while scrolling through your phone, doodling in your adult coloring books, or simply doing the laundry. Basically, you should treat it like a podcast. There is absolutely no need to give Stavros Halkias: Fat Rascal your complete attention.
When you hear the name of the special and see the bit before the set, you become quite sure that the entire hour will be a self-esteem booster for the comedian in some way or another. The assumption is that he will gloat over things or just make the worst jokes that miss the point. It is a relief that he was normal. If this was a conversation with a friend instead of a stand-up special, we would have enjoyed it a lot more. We would like to believe that he was deliberately misleading the audience with the girls on motorcycles to trash their presumptions later on. Once again, we don’t mind that. It would have been something to laugh about, get confused by, or even something to roll our eyes at ourselves at. Essentially, it could have served as a challenge to the audience that made them question the pre-held beliefs they had about the comedian. But to do any of that, we cannot say enough that the set needed to be funny. It is hard to pinpoint why Stavros Halkias went wrong. He had the right intentions and ideas and even the right attitude about things, which is a rarity. Should we assume that he did not talk to the right people about his set? Did he not stop to consider the format and the audience he would be addressing? Something about the lack of fun in Stavros Halkias: Fat Rascal is very heartbreaking.
This is the comedian’s second special, and according to him, it is a compilation of his observations about life. He nonchalantly plays the fat experience into those observations and also drives home why he is a ‘rascal.’ You have to love the balance the comedian manages to strike. Now that we have gotten it out of the way let us come to our favorite segment of comedy reviews, which is judging the comedian by their sun sign. Stavros Halkias was born on February 11th, which makes him an Aquarius. Frankly speaking, we love the women of this sign and only them. The men of the sign are known to ‘dislike’ communication. These are stereotypes. Yes, we know there are exceptions. No, we are not considering them for this segment. They are also known to be unique and charismatic. We suppose we could see that with the comedian in this set. It would be pointless to deny it. But the question is whether there is a chance he held himself back from making actual jokes—the funny kind that would make you laugh out loud? Or perhaps he was just having a bad day?
The fake laugh track will always irritate us. There is no missing it because there is no chance that the same number of people are laughing in the exact same manner and with the exact same volume at each one of his jokes. If Netflix wants to focus on quality, it has to stop coddling comedians in the pursuit of quantity and ban the use of laugh tracks once and for all. Basically, the sum of our review was that Stavros Halkias was unproblematic and unfunny. That is all.