Ethnic stereotypes, bestiality and beards were some of the topics brilliantly and daringly dissected in a night of razor-sharp stand-up in the Brisbane Fringe Festival debut of 'Mrs Wong’s Boys' (15 August).
Self-described as 'possibly the dumbest name for possibly the funniest show at this year’s Brisbane Fringe Festival', 'Mrs Wong’s Boys' was – mercifully – not a parody drag show based in that just-awful Irish sit-'com'. Instead, former Raw Comedy state finalists Martin Wong, Ashwin Segkar, Aaron Pratt and Alex Collins brought hilarious tales of their culturally diverse backgrounds and observations on life to a packed Lucky Duck Cafe & Bar.
First on the bill was Wong, a pharmacist-by-day whose acerbic commentary on bogan customers was one of many apt dissections of Australian culture that got big laughs from the initially quiet audience – and also proved there sometimes is an appropriate time and place for Nickelback covers. Wong also turned his sights on racial profiling and the marriage equality debate – with one joke perfectly skewering the argument that same-sex marriage will lead to bestiality.
Next up was the impressively red-bearded Collins, the lone Caucasian of the troupe (rarely is this ever the case on the very white Aussie comedy scene), who delivered a clever, self-deprecating set on ginger life, losing hair and babysitting. Collins has an amiable style, which helps bridge any gaps between the audience and his quirky train of thought. His beard itself – and people’s reactions to it – provided some big laughs, too, as did his summary of sex-worker tax deductions.
'Mrs Wong's Boys'
New Zealand-born Aaron Pratt followed Collins with side-splitting anecdotes in his customary Kiwi style. He immediately got the chuckles flowing with a quip about being mistaken as a security guard due to his Polynesian background/ tall stature. Pratt proceeded to mine near-constant laughs from tales of growing up with small, white adoptive parents, dreaming of being an astronaut and the differences between Australian and New Zealand reality-crime shows. The highlight of his set was a hilarious anecdote about a disgruntled passenger in the QR Quiet Carriage.
Closing the show was the dry wit of Segkar. With a mix of childhood stories and short, sharp gags, he effortlessly carried on the warm, lol-heavy mood of the room. Segkar told of growing up as an Indian in North Queensland, encountering racism throughout his life – both from skinheads and the latently bigoted – as well as potentially detrimental yoga poses. The difficult topics were handled with cool, droll ease and he even had a friendly dig at Pratt before delivering a brilliant gag about being mistaken for a taxi driver.
All in all, a strong debut night and showcase of Brisbane’s comedy talent. Expect bigger things from these wry, ruthless raconteurs. Mrs Wong should be proud of her boys!
'Mrs Wong’s Boys' continues at Lucky Duck Café & Bar 22-23 August at 7:30pm.