‘The Old Fella’ Rod Gregory
Rod Gregory @ Gelatissimo
5:00pm, Fri 4 Mar 2011
Rod Gregory has apparently appeared on one of those talent-seeking reality shows that seem to be all the rage at the moment – I wouldn’t know, because they’re not my cup of tea at all. But that must have been a relatively recent development, because the majority of the audience this afternoon were gray-haired… but, judging from the jovial nature of the banter as they wandered upstairs, they were up for a good laugh.
Unfortunately, Mike Klimczak absolutely failed to deliver. In fact, the only laughs I heard during his short opening set seemed to be steeped in pity; whilst he pronounces his material as being “adult”, short stories involving babydom didn’t have any impact on the crowd at all.
But as soon as Rod Gregory set foot on the stage, he owned the crowd… and with good reason.
Opening with a pissing-on-your-feet viagra joke, he only got filthier… in fact, I was genuinely surprised how blue Gregory worked. Using his wife Mary as a foil for most of his ribaldry, he somehow managed conjure up a very real image of the woman; it was almost as if she was onstage with him, playing a silent straight-man role. You could almost see her rolling her eyes.
But Gregory’s work wasn’t all smut; there were plenty of jokes from his former life as a farmer. And it didn’t matter that the tales were likely to be of the tallest variety available; the laconic gruff gusto with which he laid the jokes out meant that there wasn’t an aching side in the house (and there were plenty of tears of persistent laughter, too).
For all his rough edges, The Old Fella is a class act. He’s living proof that a comedian doesn’t need to rely on an edge, or some kind of unique hook; just good, honest jokes told with conviction, and maintaining a sense of trust in the audience. After his TV appearances, I’m sure squillions of people know who Rod Gregory is; his fame is richly deserved.