Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
A Mick, Mac, Paddy and Wack Walk Into a Bar
There is one thing you can be absolutely sure of in any Festival and that will be lots of stand-up comedy. It's incredibly popular, looks easy, costs almost nothing to mount and gives instant gratification in the form of applause and laughter.
The concept of one person standing in front of an audience and making them laugh by telling stories, jokes and truths well disguised, along with observations on life may seem a recent one, but actually dates back to about 400BCE in ancient Greece, a place called Parresia – a name now used in formal rhetoric which means 'to speak candidly'.
More recently it grew out of the English Music Hall and American Vaudeville traditions, getting huge boosts out of the advent of radio and television. The great names in stand up – Bob Newhart, Ken Dodd, Jimmy Carr, Billy Connelly, Jerry Seinfeld, Tommy Cooper, Don Rickles, Max Miller and so on all have entirely different presentations and methods but within the fairly restrictive structure produce vastly differing shows.
Some, like Don Rickles, use abuse; some a different persona, some use purely scripted jokes (Bob Hope) and some employ observational insight to talk about everyday things and point out the inherent absurdity and humour in them. A few, like Billy Connelly, have no idea what they're going to say when they step on stage and begin to talk, taking their direction and topics from the audience.
Perth Fringe World is no exception with literally dozens of shows using the very best of the available stand-up talent. Many use the format of the 'Best of … ' format, such as the Best of British show at The Court.
Another such is the Best of Edinburgh Comedy also at the Red Room of The Court, another hour of four stand-up comedians and MC. This particular show (and it will be different each show) the performers were three Scots, a Greek and an Aussie. Each was completely different and the strong Scots and Greek accents sometimes made it difficult to follow, especially when the delivery was fast.
The subject matter was varied and mostly delivered really well. The Aussie made a lot of fun of Qantas and Jetstar and the MC made a really good case for why Cherry Ripe is a health food.
There were some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments and the crowd enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
The Best of Edinburgh Comedy runs at two venues, both Red Rooms – at the Brass Monkey Hotel and The Court until the end of the festival. Book now online here. Tickets cost $15 to $25.