Andrew O’Neill: Occult Comedian
Andrew O’Neill @ Mercury Cinema
8:15pm, Fri 12 Mar 2010
Striding into the Mercury Cinema and prowling from side-to-side at seat level (no elevated joke-telling from this chap), Andrew O’Neill whips the crowd into a left-side / right-side chanting competition, before turning on us – “that’s how racism starts.” Sure, it’s a gag I’d seen him use before, but it’s still bloody funny – and was remarkably effective at getting the small-ish crowd (maybe thirty peeps?) on-side.
With a fetching skirt and his usual lipstick (though stressing that he was still a raging heterosexual), O’Neill also did his “stuff that gets shouted at him as a tranny” bit – again, familiar… but again, still brilliant. And them he got into the core of his show – the “occult” bit. O’Neill contends that all comedy is occult – after all, it’s an attempt to change reality with words alone. And that may be a bit of a stretch, but you know what? It was still an entertaining premise that he satisfyingly fleshed out.
One really brilliant sidetrack that O’Neill went on involved heavy metal. He professed his love of the genre, and went to great lengths describing the various definitions and sub-genres of metal… his passion was immediately evident, and the humour that he brought to the subject was fantastic. This was pretty much what I’d expected from Steve Hughes, so to get it from the guy with the skirt and the pretty glasses instead was chuckle-worthy in itself.
Look – nothing I write here can possibly describe this gig sufficiently. All I can say is that Andrew O’Neill projected real character onstage; he wasn’t just some guy telling jokes, he was a real person who you’d happily shout a beer and chat with at the pub. He just happens to wear makeup and a skirt and be fucking funny.