Jacques Barrett is The Contrarian
Jacques Barrett @ Rhino Room – Beer Garden
10:15pm, Wed 13 Mar 2013
Look – let’s not fuck around here. Prior to this show, Jacques Barrett was my favourite Australian comedian of the past few years; after the show, nothing had changed. In fact, my respect for his work may have actually gone up a notch.
And that’s not because he kept throwing jokes directly at me after he identified that I was the only paying punter in a half-full room of Artist Passes and freebie winners; it’s not just because of his world-wearied delivery of material that embodies disappointment, self-righteousness, and lazy anger. No – it’s his material.
Sure, some of it was familiar: the dolphin girls made an appearance. A dig at religion, using Westboro Baptist Church’s “Fags Cause Floods” campaign, leads to the idea of holding a Mardi Gras in drought areas. His recollection of an unintentional backhander threat at a violence-against-women benefit gig. It’s all still solid gold.
But then come the new jokes. Barrett compares a relationship breakup to quitting a job. There’s a circuitous Home Alone / pizza delivery story that takes an unexpected turn into pedophile territory, making it incredibly wrong… yet oh-so-right. And then there is one of the funniest bits I’ve heard in years – in tackling the poor image that Australian travellers have around the world, his blueberry-muffin-seeking mock-American had me weeping with laughter.
Despite the wealth of quality material, there’s still a tangible sense of self-doubt in Barrett’s presentation: he described his act as “hit and miss,” and then – recognising the number of fellow comedians in the room – started discussing the placement and effectiveness of his callback reveals (CBRs). But the crowd loved him regardless: he received a rousing cheer at the end of the show, and then tried to ad lib a bit more material… after he’d dug himself a deep hole, the audience clapped him out of it anyway!
And it warms my black little heart to see other people enjoying Jacques’ work, because he is one of the most insightful and clever wordsmiths out there… the way he structures a joke just totally works for me. But sweet jesus I want the man to have an audience… a massive, paying audience. Because he absolutely deserves it.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 13, 2013