YYou can’t go to a concert at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival that doesn’t mention COVID. Which makes sense, given that it makes or breaks every comedian returning to the stage after two years with no strings attached.
british comic South Gordon goes one step further and manages an entire show around COVID. And it’s a pretty good show. Granted, he’s been stuck in Australia (Adelaide, to be precise) for the last two years, so there’s a treasure trove of material for the mugged Brit. Adding more value for money, he started a new relationship at the start of the lockdown. It’s a very hackneyed fare, but from the south the commitment to stay the course and keep the momentum going makes for an hour that goes by like a breeze.
Southern he’s one of those solid comedians who’s been at his craft long enough to take whatever comes his way. Upstairs at Elephant & Wheelbarrow, a British pub featuring a host of British comics, it’s quite low key, with Southern presenting himself in plain sight, then jumping out from behind the bar, plugging in his own microphone and playing around with his sound effects.
In a half-full crowd, punters lined the fringes, leaving Southern with empty seats in the middle of the audience. He improvised his way through this like a pro and had most of the crowd on board, though he couldn’t bring himself to break a couple of stone-faced guys.
Anti-vaxes, game-obsessed lockdown housemates, spinning to online concerts and teaching comedy, even a stint playing Santa… Southern he covers up a lot and gets irritated to a crescendo thinking about the COVID press conferences that became the highlight of his day and RATs that faked a smudge on his nose.
He flatters his own jokes (he has a lot of one-liners) and still takes it seriously when he realizes he repeated a joke from earlier in the hour.
It begs the question why such an experienced comedian isn’t performing in larger venues. As he told a guy he still hadn’t smiled half way through, “$20 more and you could have seen Hughesy.”
For an entertaining and easy pub-style comedy experience, Southern it is good value for money.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2022
Waiting for Fat
Venue of events: Elephant and wheelbarrow | 96 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC
Dates: March 30 – April 24, 2022
Tickets: $20 – $30
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