The terms "doom", "gloom" and "comedy" often don't appear together on the same page. It's just weird. It's about as weird as seeing Rick Grimes and a decaying zombie walk arm in arm down the road wearing matching "BFFs for Life" t-shirts. It just isn't done.
So it was a surprise to turn up to Wednesday night's show, Gloominati, part of the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival, to witness, well, comedians finding the lighter side of life, or moments in life, when you're less than chipper (to put it mildly). Dubbed, "a night of dark comedy", the show is hosted by comedian Andrew Hastings and was co-produced by fellow comedian Paige Hally. Each night, Gloominati features a headliner, plus a handful of up-and-coming comedians on the rise. Wednesday night was headliner Michael Workman's night.
It really was a right Gloominati event, but thankfully the comedians were witty enough to keep the self-deprecation just this side of entertaining.
Andrew Hastings, despite his immediate admission to suffering from anxiety and depression, IS funny, and is, in fact, a very warm host. A tweet he wrote recently reads, "A woman punched me on bus yesterday for accidentally stepping on her foot. It was nice to get some human contact". It's in this vein that Hastings, and the rest of the night, proceeds. He talks about his unemployment, his loneliness and his anxiety freely, but at the same time it puts the audience at ease - we're just as messed up, so we get it!
Paige Hally delivered her set in her trademark deadpan voice, and talked more about social anxiety moments in life. This was delivered in her quietly confident, quirky manner, and to have anxiety discussed in such a way was great.
The other two acts, Anith Mukherjee and Andrew Wolfe, did not perform in this way as much, but was their material was still dark enough to be in keeping with the theme of the show. To be honest, Anith Mukherjee was my personal favourite, simply because his whole act was him telling a random story with cue cards he used as visual aids.
Michael Workman's set was a tad bit more polished that others that night, and, for my plus one, he was his favourite of the night. His delivery was easy to access, which is what you'd expect from a comedian asked to round up the acts in a night filled with stories of dysfunction and slight chaos.
If you're after comedy with a twist of honesty and truth, then Gloominati is the way to go. You may even find yourself a new favourite commedian.