Pat Burtscher’s Overwhelmed
Pat Burtscher @ Tuxedo Cat – Raj House – Room 3
9:45pm, Tue 11 Mar 2014
Even though Pat Burtscher has been a regular face (and stalwart) around Tuxedo Cat in the last few years, and he’s always been a great guy to talk to, I’d never actually seen him perform (save a short spot at a Rhino Room Late Show)… mainly because I was somewhat scared off by a friend’s reaction to his Patopotamoose show a few years back. But that same friend stumbled into this year’s Overwhelmed by mistake, and reported an enjoyable experience: a gap in the Schedule saw me in Raj’s Room 3, along with a handful of familiar TuxCat faces… and around half-a-dozen other people who seemed very unsure as to the reason for their presence.
There’s a complete lack of fanfare as Burtscher wanders in and starts trotting out material. It’s relatively low-key stuff – recollections of events from his past, thoughts inspired by others – and it encourages a gentle bubbling of mirth in the audience. There’s a couple of choice tales – a drug-fuelled rave odyssey is good value – and Burtscher also shows a very left-leaning political bent when he starts calling out society’s ills… and that’s just fine by me.
The rambling, unstructured nature of the show – if, indeed, there is any structure – is evident by the complete lack of any kind of central thread; Burtscher appears to mentally lurch from one short tale to another, with some tales just petering out into discomfort. And whilst this lack of a central thread could work, the material needs to be either stronger in content or laughs to be able to support the show… and I don’t really think that’s the case here.
At the end of an hour of Pat Burtscher’s standup, I felt like I’d just engaged in a one-sided chat with him: the show had that kind of conversational flow to it. But, in just the same way that you never trot out all your A-grade stuff when you’re down the pub with a mate, I never felt like Burtscher was really giving us his best material. And whilst the grins and chuckles that I did have were pleasant, I usually prefer heartier laughs from my comedy.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 11, 2014