Comedy review: Lizzy Hoo, Who Cares?

A gentle trawling of her own and her family's quirks and peccadilloes for laughs.

When Lizzy Hoo reassures a couple of festival-goers in the front row that they are safe from being heckled, she sets the tone for her show. Even latecomers are gently treated. Hoo Cares? Well Lizzy does and she’s not here to be snarky or cantankerous; her brand of humour is the digressionary, confessional stand-up kind. She’s confident but not cocky.

Without the use of props, instruments or set and costume changes, Hoo simply tells stories. After the obligatory mention of the pandemic (‘You just know COVID is a dude cos he’s had two years to fix himself and he couldn’t), Hoo mines her own life as well as her family for material.

She told us how, to the chagrin of her mother, she’d quit her corporate office job for the freedom and precarity of the comic circuit. But lest the audience thinks the Hoo matriarch is some traditional stalwart afraid to take risks, we’re later informed that this same woman went skydiving on her 60th birthday.

Then there’s Hoo’s ukulele-playing father Chan, a brilliant chef who only lets his only daughter observe his culinary skills but not actually partake in the cooking herself.

Read: Comedy review: Ivan Aristeguieta, Happy Papi

Seeing Hoo Cares? is a bit like sitting next to the comedian as she flips out her well-worn photo album and tells us of her trip to her ancestral motherland: Malaysia, ostensibly to farewell her dear departed grandmother. But from her four-year-old perspective, the whole trip was a gastronomical and cultural delight rather than a mournful experience.

Her older brothers too get dragged into her show, as she makes fun of their individual career goals: one setting up a travel YouTube channel in Bali; the other trying to start up a trout farm in a rented home. There’s fondness in her tales, and a love for the idiosyncratic quirks of her family.

If there’s an underlying message at all to Hoo Cares? it’s just that life is about making mistakes, living your dreams or at least giving it a go. And Hoo is just as happy to use her own experiences for laughs. Try and go on a car trip with your mates from Canada to Mexico in a $500 bomb when you’re in your 20s? Sure, why not? Take self-delusional acting classes to help your comedic career? Sure why not?

Despite some scatological bits, Hoo’s observational-style performance is sweet and PG-rated.

Lizzy Hoo, Who Cares?
Swiss Club
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Lizzy Hoo performed at the MICF from 31 March-24 April 2022

The Brisbane Comedy Festival season of Who Cares? runs from 5-9 May at the Brisbane Powerhouse with the Sydney Comedy Festival season running from 11-15 May at the Factory Theatre

Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She's the outgoing books editor of The Big issue. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was published by University of Western Australia Press. Her next collection, Decadence, will be published in July 2022. Twitter: @thuy_on