Anthony Locascio invites us on a coming-of-age exploration of growing up ethnic in the 2000s to understand whether the term ‘wog’ is an endearing caricature of his Greek-Italian roots or a derogatory slur that has not stood the test of time.
Expectations of what would unfold during a show that was titled, Don’t Call Me a Wog! were quickly clarified when Locascio, cherubic-faced and wearing a pink sweatshirt, appeared on stage and made it clear that he was ready to subvert opinions. At that point, laughter from the audience dissipated, and the mood in the room shifted to subtle whispering and the creaking of necks turning to their counterparts, ‘Perhaps this is not the show we signed up for?’.
But the audience was in for a treat.
Locascio blended razor-sharp jokes with audio-visuals and witty musings to deliver a hilarious show that reflected his ambiguity about the love-hate relationship he has with ‘wog comedy’ and what it even means.
Unafraid to tell it how it is, the rising comedian dissected Australia’s problem with stereotypes by drawing on his not-so-memorable years as a chubby, trilingual, half-Greek, half-Italian kid in a whitewashed private school, dealing with bullies, his parent’s divorce, and learning to embrace his roots by becoming the ‘King’ of the Greek society at university.
In detail, Locascio emphasised the deep pain, alienation, and insecurity ethnic minorities experience within Australian culture. Humour is not forgotten throughout these poignant memories as Locascio recollected vivid, laugh-out-loud tales about his youth, such as the time Greece shocked the world by winning the 2004 UEFA Euro or the first time he tasted a tuna casserole at his non-ethnic friend’s house.
However, the yarn of over-the-top impersonations was pulled too thin as the show went on. The ethnic caricatures that Locascio claimed to disapprove of continued to be the punchline of every joke. At times, even Locascio seemed tiresome of the same jokes, yelling louder into the microphone in hope of gaining a greater reaction from the audience who were already disconnected by now. While the premise was direct and powerful, unfortunately, the show’s deeper message was lost.
Locascio’s final moments on stage were saved by his own poetic understanding of how embracing stereotypes through comedy has helped to reduce the hurt they have caused in his past. The collection of home videos from the noughties mixed with the young comedian’s natural flair for storytelling created an enjoyable, funny, and rather touching experience. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more of Anthony Locascio’s comedy in the future.
Anthony Locascio, Don’t Call Me A Wog! (An E̶t̶h̶n̶i̶c̶ Comedy Story)
Club Voltaire, North Melbourne
Melbourne International Comedy Festival