Best of the Fest Late Show at The Gov [FringeTIX]
Lindsay Webb, Andrew O’Neill, Mickey D, Eddie Ifft @ The Gov
10:30pm, Fri 19 Feb 2010
Last year, I saw a Late Show on a Saturday night in the latter half of the Fringe – and The Gov had been packed. There’s nowhere near as many people here this year – it’s maybe only about a quarter full. But none of that matters, really; the people least suited to sitting near the front have found their way there anyway, and it’s not long after emcee Lindsay Webb takes the stage that he’s being incomprehensibly heckled (in a unique dialect of slur and cackle)… and the Best of the Fest team have found some of their targets for the night.
Last year’s show was the first time I’d come across Webb, and I remarked then (well, I meant to, anyway) that he was entertaining, without being brilliant. As emcee, though, he came into his own – deflecting the heckles with ease, isolating the troublemakers in the crowd, and then pushing his own material into the mix. And his act has definitely stepped up a notch, too – last year his jokes were a little sedate in nature, but tonight he’s upped the filth-o-meter a bit and got more-than-a-little rude. Bloody good stuff.
I was stoked to hear that Andrew O’Neill was the first act – with a brain that’s always crunching numbers, I figured this would be a good opportunity to see someone who’s on The Shortlist and, hopefully, be able to rub them off the list afterwards. Unfortunately, O’Neill completely scuppered my plans by being fucking brilliant – even when appearing onstage wearing a hideous purple check dress, black tights, and bright red lipstick. See, his “occult comedian” show blurb mentions nothing about the T-word – that being “transvestite” – so the audience is taken aback at first. He wins them over, though, by getting a chant going and breaking it down with “that’s how racism starts.” Tales of reactions to his appearance on the street keep the laughter flowing, and I’m duty bound to not only keep him on The Shortlist, but elevate him up it, too.
Mickey D is up next, and once again he launches into a familiar act based around the peccadillos of us Adelaideans. As usual, his observations are spot on the money, and once he’s hammered home our North/South/East tribal nature, discussed the discomfort of having your Mum sign “wanker” to you, and performed a cringingly good impression of a Sunday-night Ice Addict, he’s leaving the stage with a lot of laughs and good will – even if he was a lot more caustic with the more unruly audience members.
As the headline act, Eddie Ifft is… uncompromising. And, while his act continues to be refined and made generally more palatable to the average audience, there’s still something intensely vicious underneath the surface. He dispatches hecklers quickly and violently; he’ll toss “retard” into a joke and demand that you laugh; he’ll get overly explicit when talking about arse-fucking, look to see who cringes, then attack. His one concession tonight was asking the audience for a topic for his closing joke; the accepted response was “Tiger Woods”, and he turned it into another stream-of-consciousness filth-fest. Brilliant.
Four great comedians, and plenty of lively peeps in the crowd wearing big comedy targets (the pissed slut, the gentle biker, the accountant-who-didn’t-know-he-was-an-accountant). When the worst performer of the night still had me thinking “hmmm… I might see if I can squeeze him into The Schedule”, you know you’ve seen a bloody brilliant gig.