Spare a thought for the poor bloke in the front row who represented Canberra’s entire public service last night.
It’s okay to trade war stories with a fellow department acronym lover at a suburban BBQ; not so when you’re singled out by Tom Gleeson as part of a successful warm up act for a sold out comedy gala.
The poor DFAT employee’s role in proceedings was then thankfully overshadowed by Gleeson’s introspective observations that his disdain for Tony Abbott was probably due to their many unnerving similarities, and that people mentally clothe him rather than undress him at the beach.
The Canberra Comedy Festival is in its second year and if last night’s showcase is anything to go by, will enjoy another successful run. It not only has some catchy alliteration going for it, it has also managed to attract some top local and international names hosting headline shows in venues around town this week.
Ronny Chieng broke a filming schedule to step in for Matt Okine, and induced several knowing snorts with his hilarious blow by blow account of the unique torture of talking his Mother through the intricacies of social media etiquette via an overseas phone call.
“Press the red ‘x’ next to the YouTube comment if you want to delete it, no the red ‘x’. Use your mouse. What do you mean you’ve lost the white arrow? Just move the mouse around. Yes computers are stupid Mum. The internet’s stupid. Everything’s stupid except you. F**k it, I’m flying to Singapore to help.”
Local Dayne Rathbone put his dignity on the line for a unique form of patriotism involving his version of South African national dress and dance, while Luke Heggie reminded us why shop assistants make such great listeners; they are simply not allowed to leave.
Other highlights included the UK’s Jeff Green; a seasoned performer with many ‘funny cos it’s true’ parenting moments, and local twins The Stevenson Experience providing us with a ‘how to pick up’ guide that probably shouldn’t be tried at home.
The night was rounded out by the "ex-Petrie Plaza and proud" Doug Anthony All Stars, with the delightfully strange Flacco coming out of a three year performing hiatus to replace now ABC broadcaster Richard Fidler. When this fact was met by much nostalgic applause his deadpan, “don’t patronise me” brought the house down.
This week’s program features Charlie Pickering, Hannah Gadsby, Dave O'Neil and Glenn Robbins, Peter Berner, Rod Quantock, Sammy J, Hamish Hudson and many more, so get amongst it –tell Melbourne and Edinburgh where to stick it and support a quality local event For event and ticketing info head to www.canberracomedyfestival.com.au