Greg Fleet – a rough and raw comedian whose style is somewhere between drunken ramblings, English actor, and “Aussie bloke” – sure knowns how to craft an engaging and enjoyable show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF). Whilst not a perfect show, it is still funny and worth a few laughs. Which, when you think about it, is what comedy is all about.
The room the performance was held at in the Imperial Hotel (just opposite Parliament House) was small enough to create an intimate environment, but large enough to draw a strong crowd. The intimacy was helped by the fact that Fleet actually met everybody at the door with a handshake (a nice and classic gesture which was very much appreciated), and made the audience overcome general awkwardness about laughing during the show.
The show itself was a classic stand-up routine. With solid humour that covered a variety of interesting areas (it was somehow both political and apolitical at the same time), Fleet managed to keep the audience engaged with a rambling style that appeared like a stream of consciousness. Although it was apparent he was not inebriated at all, he managed to convey a “pub chat” style, but with the occasional slip into a received accent (indicating some level of classical training). His gravelly vocal style works very well for the act, adding a gruffness to his stand-up routine that is often missing in a lot of comedians. Think Dylan Moran, but more swearing and more Australian.
The jokes themselves were a bit of a mix. As with most comedy shows, there are some that left many members of the audience in stitches, whilst others missed the mark slightly. There were some remarks which made some members of the audience feel a bit uncomfortable, although the way they were told indicates Fleet must have been aware of the mixed reception they would get. Either way, prepare yourself for some interesting humour and jokes that might make you feel a little uncomfortable. Also, if you dislike swearing, Fleet may not be your thing.
There are some criticisms that can be levelled at the show. Although there was nominally a theme, it seemed very distant and only made itself apparent in a very subtle (often undetectable) fashion. Whilst that is not a massive problem with the show, it does make it seem a little bit aimless at times, and the audience were sometimes left with a confused feeling as to the point of the humour (especially in the middle). That being said, things do get tied up nicely and within Fleet’s “universe” (i.e. the stage persona and events that happen), and you do leave feeling satisfied.
A more serious accusation that can be levelled is one of slight unprofessionalism or under-preparedness. Perhaps it was carefully masked nerves, but there were moments where Fleet broke the audience out of the suspension of disbelief by some of his stage antics. Although some moments were less noticeable than others, they did detract a little bit from the overall show as they reminded everybody in the room that they were sitting in front of a man who was telling jokes, instead of being taken out of the room and into the universe of the joke.
We Are Idiots is a fun evening show, and a solid stand-up routine to get one started on the MICF. Despite some of the problems mentioned above, it makes for a solid performance. Certainly worth investigating if you like good laughs and an enjoyable evening out with one of Australia’s most-beloved comics.
We Are Idiots is on at the Imperial Hotel at 6 pm as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until the 23 April no shows on Mondays. Ticekts range between $24 – $28, and are available online or at the door.