The Comedy Theatre on Exhibition Street is a breathtaking building: the stage is huge, and the room itself is cavernous in a way that makes you almost suspect an echo will ring out if you say anything. This doesn’t stop Wil Anderson from delivering a show that feels more like a conversation with the audience than simple stand-up.
Anderson’s routine has an almost intimate element to it, creating an atmosphere that feels as if he’s speaking to every individual in the room like we’re just sitting at the bar together. From Adam Goodes and racism, to claiming that Andrew Bolt is a brilliant, satirical comedian, Anderson flows through a range of material that seems to focus on issues that some deem political correctness gone mad. He doesn’t necessarily disagree with this however; instead he spends time on each subject talking through the material in order to explain his opinions on each one. It’s this approach that creates a conversation with the audience as opposed to a simple stand-up routine, and it’s why he’s such a successful comedian.
The material is heavy on political material, the show beginning with Anderson lamenting Tony Abbot’s downfall the previous year. “Tony Abbott in charge is a comedian’s mining boom,” is a quote that tells you everything you need to know about that particular gag. True enough, at least the first ten minutes is spent reminiscing about the onion eating we’ve all come to know and love.
Anderson is almost ecstatic at the beginning of the show, excitable and energetic as he laughs loudly at his own jokes. There are a few moments during the show that he expresses his delight at a particular joke, almost explaining it to the audience despite already having drawn a laugh from them at it. This barrage of material is occasionally hard to follow, a few jokes coming out full speed without time to properly register and laugh. Anderson almost seems to be rushing through the night a little, perhaps due to the amount of material and a want to use it all (he did at one point break out a great gag that he had thought of in the shower that morning).
Seeing Wil Anderson in Fire at Wil is a great conversation piece afterwards with friends. The material is funny, the atmosphere is warm and engaging and Wil is his usual charming self – albeit seemingly running on ten cups of coffee.
Wil Anderson will be performing in Fire at Wil as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 23rd March – 17th April at The Comedy Theatre. Tickets can be purchased here.