Well, we are half way through the Comedy Festival and I have mixed feelings on this year’s festival. It’s sort of like asking halfway through the season last year about the Geelong Cats. Most would have said, they are great and are going to win the premiership. You can’t say the same after last year’s Grand Final. With sporting teams and comedy festivals, your impression can be changed by the last thing you saw them do.
I started out the festival with seeing Steven K Amos and was not disappointed. The comedy was simple. Steven K Amos and a microphone on stage, telling us stories, interacting with the audience, and even talking about the current events of Melbourne. The entire audience was continually laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. That is good comedy.
The great thing about the festival is its ability to give anyone a chance. The whole city turns into amateur hour for a month. This is great and has seen many comedians excel in comedy. Unfortunately, there is no licencing or guidelines for comedies, and what you can get is a mixed bag.
So due to different sets of circumstances, I ended up seeing Jokey Joke Time and Accidental Identity. I had the same feeling for both shows: is this the Comedy Festival or is this the Fringe Festival? JJT was well presented in the courtroom of the Melbourne Gaol and featured Eric Hutton performing standup comedy mixed in with the occasional rap, saxophone playing by Jennifer Wong, and pictures/sketches to accompany some topics. As a presentation or something fringy, it was good, as a comedy it failed to make myself or the audience laugh. It reminded me of PowerPoint presentations I had to do at uni with myself making the speech and my partner controlling the computer. An ability of a good comedian is to connect with the audience and while the content of the comedy was funny, I don’t feel like the audience or myself connected with him. He did make me realise one thing; it really grosses me out when someone talks with a mouth full of food.
Accidental Identity was definitely far from what I expected from the comedy festival. This was a full length play with an intermission, that happened to be in the comedy genre. As a comedy I found some parts of it amusing but as a play I found the show very interesting and well acted. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of plays in fact the only thing resembling a play I’ve seen in my years is the Lion King.
Maybe I set my standards too high? Do I expect too much to just see either standup or improv that can make me laugh? Has Youtube ruined me? Maybe, but I think you have to keep it simple. The most sucessful comics at the festival are people who can connect with audience, who can talk about things that relate to the audience, and appeal to people of all ages and interests. But what do I know? I would have picked “Man getting hit with Football“.