Lindsay Webb in ‘What’s Your Name? What Do You Do?’
Lindsay Webb @ Rhino Room – Howling Owl
8:30pm, Tue 4 Mar 2014
I can tell it’s the back half of the Fringe when I start getting grumpy in queues listening to other people. “So… who is this guy?” one of a group of three asked the others, to which the reply was “I dunno… but [someone] reckons he’s alright. What else are we gonna do, anyway?”
And apart from wanting to forcefully point out that there’s a whole fucking Fringe – and Festival – on at the moment, it took every ounce of self-control I had to not start screaming at them: “How can you not know who Lindsay Webb is?”
Webb is easily one of the best comedians working in Australia right now, and he manages that without any real tricks or hooks: he’s not overtly political, he’s not self-deprecating, and he’s not aggressive. But he is an incredibly likeable comic… and he’s also incredibly quick with his wit.
Which is just as well, really… because this show (as the name suggests) is all about audience interactions and, more importantly, Webb’s ability to conjure comedy from the material provided by the crowd.
Very little seems to be scripted as Webb picks people out of the room – “What’s your name? What do you do?” becomes a very familiar rhythm – and starts twisting the responses into laughter. The northern-suburban mother and daughter provide plenty of jokes about the Adelaidean class divide, and Matt – “One ’T’ or two? Two? Don’t you think you’re being a bit greedy?” – copped a lot of good-natured stick. There is some fall-back material that Webb weaves seamlessly into his set – he’s recently turned forty, and his work with Forces Entertainment delivering comedy to serving troops – and his “getting fit” material (gym junkies, personal trainers) could find a home in any five- or ten-minute spot.
Names and jobs are overrated, Webb surmises at the top of the show; they define too much about us. And whilst there could be some debate about whether that argument is made (or even coherent), there’s no denying that Lindsay Webb is a bloody brilliant, straight-up comedian. That he performed so sharply in this show when he was so clearly under the influence speaks volumes about his comic skills.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 4, 2014