MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL: Greg Proops is a very funny guy, no mistaking it. He’s quick, intelligent and has introspection, something we’re not used to in Americans.
Greg Proops is a very funny guy, no mistaking it. He’s quick, intelligent, political, surprisingly adept at physical comedy and has razor sharp insight and introspection something we’re not used to in Americans. Plus, he’s got that quaffy hair, funky glasses and smart suits. It’s hard to believe he doesn’t like a crisp white wine or a good coffee. He should fit right in at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, right?
Unfortunately, it seemed a large proportion of the audience on the first night watched him on Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight last week. Nothing flattens a joke like hearing it a second time, especially one about koalas. Yeah, he knows they’re not bears –whatever!
It’s not like he’d used up all his material, and there were a lot of laughs, ask the girl behind me. But it wasn’t enough for Proops who seemed to dwell on Melbourne’s laughter inadequacies. Maybe it was all part of his well known self-depreciating style. So why did the audience seem to agree with him on a several points rather than laugh with him? Acknowledging America’s poor international diplomacy and war mongering just didn’t have them in the aisles. And even though he worked in some great lines and original insights, he was dragging across some pretty well worn terrain: airport security, California’s governor, crazy things Americans say, that sort of stuff.
I’d hate to think Melbourne audiences are just ‘too hip’, too cappuccino-drinking goth-poet and politically correct to laugh at a good joke. But Proops is one of those comedians who’s really funny when he says what he really thinks, the sort of thing that makes you suck in your breath in shock. Not the safe stuff.
The show seemed to be on more solid ground when he was making fun of the English and reminiscing with people old enough to remember a world before the internet. The audience’s opinion was divided on one legged girl jokes, more political correctness difficulties. If only he knew more about Aussie Rules, that always work a treat in Melbourne.
Proops is playing the gorgeous Atheneum Theatre with its wedding cake internals for five nights from 19 to 24 April but in the past week he’s also hit Gosford, Newcastle, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra. Then it will be Perth before he heads over to New Zealand. He’s only half way through.
Maybe it’s not such a gruelling pace for a comedian whose bio is stellar, possibly reaching the upper atmosphere of comic circles these days. From the UK to the US version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? with Drew Carey, Proops is a regular on all manner of US chat and comedy shows such as Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Chelsea Lately on E!, Plus, he tweets, facebooks, podcasts, and is the voice of Bob the Builder in the US.
Tightarse Tuesdays may well be hard work and tough way to start. This was a bit of a scattergun, see what hits and misses, show and he’s sure to get his aim right over the rest of his season. Watch out when he does, it’s likely to leave a cut or two.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
March 30 - April 24
For more festival coverage see our dedicated MICF mini-site.