Four BFFs of the BFF, each seemingly armed with Ma-Ti’s Planeteer heart ring, combined their warm, friendly powers of japery in a stellar, festival debut.
‘Best Friends Gang’ saw the not-just-friendly but actually very biting, satirical talents of young Brisbane comedians Michelle Azevedo, Joel Batham, Sam Bowden and Jack Gramenz in a most successful opening that once again showcased this city as one of the nation’s premier, comedy, breeding grounds.
The capacity crowd of variously aged hipsters – craft beers and tapas in hand – crammed onto a sea of bar stools and attentively lapped up a fine hour of social commentary and absurdist observations from the eponymous best friends at the Lucky Duck Cafe.
Bowden, fresh from a stint performing in the UK, opened the show with a strong set that gleefully harpooned ridiculous-foodie fads and the disappearance of plates from restaurants, as well as stories of dating horseriders and a class-elevating encounter with an Isle of Capris toilet. His upbeat charm won the audience over and set the scene for a great gig.
Next up was the affable, droll stylings of Batham, a former Raw Comedy state finalist (along with Azevedo and Gramenz). He spun wry, near-deadpan anecdotes that often skewered society’s unashamed bigotry – including his dad’s casual sexism, all before a hilariously whimsical introduction of following comic and real-life best friend Gramenz.
The young Gramenz took to the stage with gusto, launching into a non-sequitur about his faux-dedication to fashion. His surrealist pillorying of misogynist dating bible ‘The Game’ and a tale of reporting a friend’s drug use to the police were among his best jokes.
Michelle Azevedo closed the show with a brilliant set that traversed such topics as her boyfriend’s aversion to buying bedsheets and the helplessness of getting lost in public as an adult, as well as exploring her struggles with mental illness, which included a hilarious lambasting of bad counsellors. The natural performer easily mined the lols and her joke about men’s unknowing predilection for deer sex was a highlight.
All four had great sets as they won over, indeed befriended, seemingly every single audience member. These guys deserve big comedy futures.
‘Best Friends Gang’ continues at Lucky Duck Cafe & Bar 23 and 29 August at 6:30pm as part of the Brisbane Fringe Festival.