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LA Comedians in Debut Australian Tour
With the proliferation of international comedy festivals on the rise, audiences are getting to know a broader range of comedic talent than ever before. We all still have our favourites though, so how do 'stand-ups' without overseas profile break into the world touring circuit?
Frontier hosted a showcase in Hollywood to pick and choose the most promising of LA-based comedians to tour Down Under with a 'taster' set, in the hope of touring the 'Star-Spangled' stars individually from 2018 and beyond.
I was lucky enough to catch Frontier's line-up in its first and only Sydney show at The Comedy Store (on 10 June), before it tours for three shows at The Comic's Lounge in Melbourne, from 15 – 17 June.
The Star-Spangled headliners are Al Jackson of Just For Laughs fame, Dustin Ybarra and Megan Gailey, regulars on Conan O'Brien and Matthew Broussard of Chelsea Lately renown. Aussie comedian Amos Gill opens and hosts the show, which proudly boasts that Donald Trump is not in attendance and thankfully, neither are any jokes about the over-exposed politician.
I should preface my review with a note that Dustin Ybarra did not appear in the Sydney show but his cohort ably flew the red, the white and timed in at about an hour all up, which is perfect timing for a stand-up ensemble.
In their very first encounter with Australian audiences, Jackson, Gailey and Broussard were clearly testing the waters of what would work with an Australian audience, so Melbourne can only benefit from the ditching of awkward jokes that fell flat in Sydney.
I'll be honest and say that Megan Gailey, in the middle of the line-up, had the toughest time of the three, as some of her Amy Schumer-esque jokes did not quite resonate. Female comedians are up against it at the best of times but I have seen the likes of Schumer and Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan match it with the boys, in their brutally honest sets. Gailey delivered some solid jokes in her debut but was the most acquired of the comedic tastes in the line-up. Al Jackson led the trio with his routine, a challenging task to warm up the crowd. He soon won over the Aussies with his chilled, Californian style and appealed to those in long-term relationships, with his self-deprecating jokes about marriage and the wisdom of experience. Like most comedians, he relies on sexual innuendo but it's all about delivery and walking that fine line. I'm pleased to say, Jackson's punchlines generally hit their mark.
Comedian Matthew Broussard (image c/o- Frontier Comedy)
In contrast to Jackson's 'been-around-the-block' style, came Matthew Broussard to round out the show. Representing LA comedy's young, smart and fresh fraternity, Broussard was the unexpected highlight and the performer most likely to tour again. I would pay to see him do an individual tour, should he return to Oz.
Broussard had me (and most of the audience) at hello, with his self-deprecating joke that 80s movies have taught people to hate men like him. That is, handsome, blonde, full-headed, white males, who look like 'jocks' or 'preppies'. Intelligent and with a sharp wit to boot, he's my kind of guy and had the audience in stitches with his original material. Definitely one to watch and a strong final performance in a tight line-up of acts.
Star-Spangled Stand-Up is a great concept for 'road-testing' overseas talent and if you're a fan of live comedy, it's worth giving these US funny guys, a fair Aussie go.