The ‘Kings Of Comedy’ MICF showcase delivered what it said on the tin.
A multi-act showcase of local comedians serving hors d'oeuvres as a sampler to their full shows later in the festival. The Showcase makes for a good entry point for punters who aren’t sure what to see or want a quick compendium of the local acts involved in the fest. Each comic does fewer than ten minutes, which should also suit tentative comedy viewers.
Melbourne comedian Nick Capper was up first, immediately vindicating the show’s promise of high calibre performers. A festival favourite, Capper has the demeanour of a bushy, stoned philosopher. He’s funny even before he starts talking and he’s in possession of a quick wit, too, giving us a taste of the agricultural material from his ‘Pig In the City’ show.
Capper was the standout in terms of having the whole room onside, but the laughter scarcely dipped through the next six acts. Michael Shafar delivered a condensed version of his show, ‘50/50’, which looks at his experiences with testicular cancer. Based on tonight’s short set, you can expect a lot of jokes about balls. Or ball, as it were.
After Leigh Qurban’s exhaustive depiction of a gym junkie’s weekly health and fitness routine, headliner Kirsty Webeck was revealed. Webeck opted to shoot the sh.t rather than construct a detailed narrative. Her effortlessness on stage shone through, winning the room over with relaxed and unguarded energy.
'Man vs Meth'
‘Man vs Meth’ isn’t a conventional piece of stand-up comedy, but it’s very entertaining. Simon Hughes doesn’t really write jokes or engage in chicanery; ‘Man vs Meth’ is an anecdotal recount of his many years as a drug addict.
But no matter the appropriate label for it, Hughes had a significant portion of the room in hysterics from start to finish.
A run-in with the law eventually sent him to rehab and he’s now six years clean and giving speeches in schools and studying neuroscience.
It’s an interesting journey, but ‘Man vs Meth’ is less a cautionary TED Talk than it is a manically energetic reflection on the absurdity of Hughes’ drug-addled heyday. He’s a difficult character to not feel affection for, but enjoyment of ‘Man vs Meth’ is definitely enhanced if viewers have some ridiculous drug experiences of their own.