Jacques Barrett is The Contrarian: Part Deux
Jacques Barrett @ The Producers Bar
10:15pm, Sat 8 Mar 2014
So – Jacques Barrett. I’m a massive fan. Always have been, since the first time I saw him perform (opening for the Tokyo Shock Boys), and I specifically picked this evening to see his full set during this season… I wanted to share his genius with a substantial audience, and a Saturday night is usually the best chance for a decent walk-in crowd. That it also happened to be show ninety-nine for this year was a bonus.
The massive crowd I wanted? It didn’t really happen. I can’t remember how many were there, but in the end it didn’t matter… because we all laughed loud and hard and long. Oo-er.
Barrett’s material is still amazingly solid – the gold far outweighs the less-precious – with the only flat spots being the moments where he chases a thread, gets disheartened halfway through a joke, and bails on it… but even then, Barrett’s self-admonishment has the effect of making him appear more identifiable, more human. Cats & Dogs, such a benign and hacky concept, has become a sterling opener, the full Australians Abroad bit (which morphs into the ecstasy of Blueberry Muffin) is as good a routine as any, and I’d forgotten how good his drug-addled Home Alone piece was.
Throughout, Barrett’s delivery veers from confident to frail in a completely organic manner: the show almost feels like an emotional roller-coaster that you ride with Barrett. And whilst the more enjoyably misanthropic elements of previous shows have been whittled away over the years, they’ve been replaced by fantastic introspective humour… and there’s still plenty of self-denigration to go around.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy Jacques Barrett’s comedy? Why yes, yes I have. He’s still my current favourite touring Australian comedian, and this show did absolutely nothing to convince me otherwise. In fact, it only further highlighted how much daylight there is between Barrett and second place in my mind: I fear for my (ample) gut if a challenger comes along, because it will most certainly be busted.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 8, 2014