Comedy review: Andy Balloch: Am I the Drama? MICF

Balloch's romp through history and contemporary times takes in light and shade.

Andy Balloch is a leading Australian physical comedian and the podcaster behind the award-winning podcast Cher and Retweet. His MICF show Am I The Drama? is a roller-coaster ride through the triumphs and tumults of the past three decades. This one-man performance features an out-and-proud spangle-clad platinum-haired dynamo sharing pithy comedy based on the nostalgia of changing times.

The show features a number of callbacks to Balloch’s European Jewish heritage and his family’s escape from the Nazis, only to end with the spectre of Nazism at home. Although Balloch is funny, the situation is serious. Balloch tells of a far right boycott of a local event to inspire queer kids from regional Victoria and calls us all to be better allies and better people in turbulent times. 

On a more light-hearted note, the show moves along at an enjoyable pace, touring through the actor’s more immediate history, during a time when the internet was just a vehicle for cat videos, pornography and … was there a third thing? It was also a time when parenting via antihistamines was a normal way to get a bit of peace and quiet. Such themes will resonate with anyone who grew up during the same period. His content is delivered with excellent comic timing. 

Balloch’s shows often make the most of a homespun setting, as well as sly references to local friends. A clever gag set at a local park recurs and is played for maximum laughs. Equally funny are instances where Balloch disappears into characters, including a French lover, a Spanish diablo figure and a Dutch relative.

Read: Comedy reviews: Charles Firth & James Schloeffel: Wankernomics, Danny Bhoy, MICF

More surprising still is the show’s sincere commitment to easing the way for young queer kids in their own community struggles with visibility, support and pride. Am I The Drama? asks us to put the well-being of the queer community at the centre of our self-care, and reminds us we can do it with a smile.

Andy Balloch: Am I the Drama? is playing at Campari House until 23 April 2023 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy FestivalTickets: $20-$28

Vanessa Francesca is a writer who has worked in independent theatre. Her work has appeared in The Age, The Australian and Meanjin