Writer and star of ABC’s 'Fancy Boy', Greg Larsen is one of those comedy writers whose work you’re probably familiar with without even knowing it.
He’s written for 'Ronny Chieng: International Student', 'Ask The Doctor', 'Dirty Laundry Live' and more. He’s a naturally funny-man with a sharp wit and a mischievous streak a mile wide. He’s known to be unafraid to push the envelope, deconstructing what comedy is and being willing to go to any lengths on stage.
He effortlessly captures the anti-comedy zeitgeist that’s so chic, but tends to fly over the heads of the previous generation. Rapid-fire explorations of anti-humour, surreal and absurd juxtaposed with mundane and relatable subjects.
However, that wasn’t the Greg that graced the stage at Heya Bar in his Bris Funny Fest show (21 August); this was a totally different Greg. He told the crowd that after some negative reviews of his previous show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, he was making the foray into being “another white guy discussing politics”.
Whether it truly was the reviews that inspired it or Greg cribbing some sympathy, his entire approach was notably calmer and deadpan. It drew attention to the material itself, stripping away the visual engagement and leaving you focused completely on the words.
Opening his set with a bit on Mark Ellis got some laughs before he’d even said anything. Some real-life stories are ridiculous enough that even without someone critiquing the chain of events, with hindsight you can’t help but laugh at their stupidity.
Alleged kidnapper and former police officer Mark Ellis’ short-lived political campaign representing One Nation was undoubtedly one of them. However, even with that seam being rich in comedy gold, nobody in the room expected the mind-blowingly satisfying payoff that came at the end.
Despite being an area relatively new for Greg, the political narrative that tied the sections together felt both natural and relevant. He’s unashamedly left-wing and aware of his privileged hypocrisies, and addresses these points early. He’s second guessed every thought process that each statement provokes and is ready to counter before you’ve even had a chance to fully form your thought.
The longest segment was dedicated to an absolutely hilarious deconstruction of an advertising commission that Greg took on, with such vivid imagery that the core elements feel like real memories in my mind.
It’s a great way of introducing sketch comedy to the stage where often budget and practical restraints mean that the true realisation can’t be properly achieved. By building these worlds through stories, your brain fills in the gaps right down to the timing.
So much of the material dealt with an internal conflict between wanting to make the world a better place and getting revenge on those who have wronged you, a very familiar struggle we can all relate to. Though unlike most people, Greg’s sense of mischief and dedication to subversion is so strong and well honed that you’re frequently left with your jaw on the floor from tales of his antics.
As the set drew to a mature, reflective ending, I was blown away with what a well-constructed piece it was from start to finish. Then, something happened recalling M. Night Shyamalan levels of surprise. Something so good it would be ruined by explaining here so I won’t.
The only way you’ll be able to find out is to go see Greg perform as soon as possible. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.