Australian arts jobs, news, industry commentary, career advice, reviews & data

What's On

Dumb Things I've Done

Isabelle Oderberg

Alex Williamson's set felt like a generation sticking its middle finger up at politically correct expectations.
Dumb Things I've Done

Going to see Alex Williamson felt like a science experiment. Not a ‘cut a frog open’ sort of experiment, more of a ‘staring through panes of glass at mazes of mice trying to find their way to the cheese’ sort of experiment.

If the c-bomb offends you, don’t go (I lost count at 23).

If political correctness and gender equality is a high priority, don’t go.

If you don’t want to hear a whole bunch of jokes about porn and drugs, don’t go.

A former RAW Comedy winner, Alex Williamson is now a cult comedy figure in the 20-30 age bracket. He has 395,000 YouTube subscribers (some of his videos get over 1 million views), 180,000 Instagram followers and almost 60,000 Twitter followers.

The audience was awash with guys in their early 20s who wanted to be Shooter Williamson (as he’s known) and scantily clad girls of the same age who clearly wanted to date him.

Although we sometimes felt guilty (the material hops back and forth over the line between acceptable and totally unacceptable) we laughed through almost the entire set.

While the majority of his performance is traditional stand-up, he throws in a few songs and does a slideshow of bizarre photos and tells stories of things that have happened to him in the course of being a young dude (replace the word 'dude' with ‘c*nt’).

One joke involving a text message exchange with a chick he’d taken on a date had us literally crying with laughter.

Watching Williamson perform and watching the crowd reminded me of my (much) younger brother and his mates - Williamson is just one of the guys and the entire audience is totes just hanging out with him, listening to his ‘funny shit’.

It felt like a science experiment because heading into the gig I knew I didn’t fall into his target demographic, but I really wanted to be an observer in the corner, figuring out what all the fuss was about.

Williamson has such a cult following that he even has his own famous one-liners, including the fact that he’s a ‘sick c*nt’ and every time he says it the audience gives him a cheer, before heading out to queue up for his merchandise, autograph and a selfie with him to post on Instagram.

The entire set felt like a generation sticking its middle finger up at politically correct expectations and just saying the stuff that conventional social norms dictate you can’t articulate.

But there’s a reason his shows sell-out consistently. He’s a funny c*nt.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Dumb Things I've Done
By Alex Williamson 

Athenaeum Theatre, Collins St
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
25 - 29 March

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

A veteran journalist, Isabelle Oderberg is a comedy fanatic and has been reviewing comedy for six years. She also reviews restaurants, opera and theatre