Before heading east to the jungle that is the Melbourne Comedy Festival with his new hour-long feature - Oh, More, Mr White Guy? - comic and tracksuit enthusiast Daniel Muggleton remains with us in the Adelaide Fringe until Sunday, March 21. He has appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe (JOE.co.uk dubbed him 'really f#*%ing funny'), on ABC Comedy, SBS and – as have we all – on Zoom. He opened Sydney's #1 Comedy Club, The Running Joke, no doubt a hilarious pun on his love of trackies.
His own audience warm-up guy, his opening gambit was to hide behind the drape at the back of the Piglet shipping container at Gluttony in Rymill Park and loudly insist that the audience cheers him onto the stage. Good plan, that. It allows time to suss the crowd and make some early choices for his lightning rod audience members. Politics, pop culture, dick-pics, is God watching, personal dress sense … nothing is sacred.
Four over-dressed younger blokes in collared shirts closest to the stage immediately found themselves front-and-centre as foils to Muggleton's relationship jokes, disdain for the collared shirt, (We're all working from home. Do you wear a tie until five to get into the zone?) Covid-related rants and razor-sharp commentary as to why there were no bogans present. Bogans never listened in school, apparently. Why would they pay money to go sit in someone's back yard and listen to a bloke spouting random shit from a shipping container? They don't have listening muscles. Their creative energy and intellectual curiosity is all in their jet-ski throttle hands.
Muggleton, who bears a passing resemblance to a young Groucho Marx in a red trackie, soon found other audience foils, building the bogan theme, celebrating the only bloke present in shorts and the two young ladies from Darwin who moved to Adelaide from Melbourne on the day Victoria first closed its borders for Covid. The first half of the show sailed by at the expense of people stuck in lockdown, bogans, including the King Bogan ScoMo, and people who might be in church the next day.
Then he struck audience gold, a Baptist pastor who assured us all that he bought a ticket to this show because its publicity indicated it was family-friendly. It should be noted that every second word was the F- or the C-word and Muggleton had already gone into some detail discussing his own penis, sex life and those of other men, even admitting to having received a dick-pic himself from an audience member in Edinburgh. With this disclosure, he noted that he is generally far more honest onstage with a bunch of strangers than he ever is in the company of his nearest and dearest.
The audience found pause to consider a deep truth about what it is to be truly honest. How confronting can it be for two men, often a father and a son, to engage in meaningful dialogue? Rather than spend all day attempting to catch fish and exchanging a couple of lines of dialogue, perhaps about whether they were biting.
Muggleton's comedy is biting, but that made a mark. The calling card of a comedian with something special is the ability to find truth amongst the laughs, delineate in someone's back yard the thin line that separates comedy and tragedy and successfully straddles it. Daniel Muggleton, you are that comedian. Five stars.
Muggleton's final three shows run at Piglet in Gluttony at Rymill Park from 9.30 pm, March 19 – 21.