The Unpinchable Pink Pen makes you think a lot about gender and the state of such things in our society. Although Yianni Agisilaou – a 40-year-old straight (mostly?) man – doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the debates, his wit and ability to laugh at a variety of sociologically-inspired jokes really makes it apparent why his shows are sold out. As a stand-up routine, it is rough and raw, while dealing with heavy issues.
Heads up for those who are unaware of gender politics – you may need to do a quick tour through some basic third wave feminist theory (or at least gender theories) to understand a lot of the humour’s nuances. That is not to say the show won’t be funny for you – take it as educational – but it does help to not have rigid views on what gender is supposed to be. Agisilaou spends the entire show focussing on gender – including the titular “pink pen”, and how it affects us all.
The audience certainly enjoyed themselves. Despite some of the less than PC content, Agisilaou was careful not to single out members of the audience or make them feel overly uncomfortable (with exceptions). There were constant amused chuckles, and a lot of loud laughter from many members of the audience. There were even some women towards the back who were crying from laughing too much. If that’s not a good sign for a comedy show, then what is?
That being said, Agisilaou did miss the mark sometimes, especially when he was a little “edgier” than the standard, or when the jokes were puerile to the point of unpleasant. There were some jokes that fell flat entirely (which he recovered from well), but that still did detract slightly from the show. While he would always come back from these spots cleverly, it was still a little uncomfortable.
Agisilaou’s style suits the Trades Hall venue. Taking the occasional swig from a beer bottle in a building that reeks of lefty radical theories and actions (the site was home to the DLP being expelled with sledgehammers, and the 888 sign out the front is testimony to the place’s history) really lent itself to the atmosphere. Or perhaps that was just the audience this place attracts.
One problem, which was not Agisilaou’s fault, was the ticketing debacle. Several members of the audience had their tickets misplaced and couldn’t get into the show at all, and several more joined the show late, causing slight disruptions. Agisilaou, to his credit, didn’t acknowledge the distractions, and soldiered on. But it was distracting having people coming in and out of the show. Hopefully the problems will have been fixed, but it was annoying for the audience to deal with.
Overall, it’s definitely worth checking out if you have any interest in laughing at gender politics with a stand up comedian.
Yianni Agisilaou’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival show The Unpinchable Pink Pen is on till 23 April. Tickets start at $20 – buy them at the MICF website.