comedy is hard.

at the suggestion of a reader i went to the standup show “be my (kent) valentine” at the portland hotel. kent valentine seems a young comic still finding his feet. his 45 minute monologue was certainly funny in places, particularly when addressing the awkwardness of relationships and sex, but when at other times it ventured into matters emotional, the territory seemed more uncharted, at times almost embarrassingly painful.

“be my (kent) valentine” is the story of the year he spent unsuccessfully trying to find love after getting dumped by his girlfriend. surely a difficult premise, and one not quite managed by the comedian. before he makes it to the big leagues kent will have to overcome two kinds of nerves. the first and probably easiest is that of doing standup to a room full of people. i personally think this would be one of the scariest things in the world, and power to him for making a go of it, but his nerves in this regard were palpable and did intrude upon the experience.

the other kind of nervousness is much more difficult to overcome, and it was about the emotional core of his story. at the centre of the story he was telling was a painful breakup, but the tension between his love for his ex, and her no longer caring for him, was handled tenatively and nervously, like he was unsure how appropriate a thing it is to be talking about. while that would ordinarily be a reasonable concern, the middle of a standup routine is no place for such self-doubt.

if you’re a keen fan of young melbourne comedy with a spare $20 in your pocket then maybe check out the show, but if you’re just an average punter looking for a night out, i’d give kent valentine a couple of years to mature as a performer before adding him to a comedy festival ‘must-see’ list.

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