Comedy review: Mel Buttle, Not Here To Put Socks On Centipedes, Town Hall, MICF 2024

Whether it's admitting that parenthood isn't always 100 percent rosy or dealing with a rowdy crowd member, Buttle's timing is always sharp as a tack.
Mel Buttle. Image is a head and shoulders shot of a smiling woman with a side parting and long wavy hair wearing red lipstick and a stripey T shirt under a blue and white jacket with a floral pattern on the chest.

Seeing Mel Buttle immediately after Zoë Coombs Marr, it was difficult not to notice the myriad similarities between them – as ADHD diagnosed, local queer comedians who this year are presenting themselves as they are, rather than relying on alter egos like Dave or, for Buttle, her hugely popular mum and housewife persona, Lyn.

And that’s grand. Buttle as herself is never less than confident, knows her way around a good story and is happy to use her toddler son Harry as a rich vein of material aimed at gleeful nods of understanding and knowing chuckles from the parents in the crowd (of whatever age and vintage).

But even the most relaxed and experienced of performers can sometimes face a challenge from an overenthusiastic audience member, as Buttle did during the performance this reviewer attended. And, as she noted, it’s a lot harder to deal with someone who just wants to join in than it is to smack down a heckler who’s being deliberately disruptive. (Jimmy Carr is a master at this.)

Read: Comedy review: Zoë Coombs Marr, Every Single Thing In My Whole Entire Life, Town Hall, MICF 2024

It was so relentless that a less adept performer may have thrown in the towel, but Buttle was able to eventually claw the narrative back on track. Again though, like Coombs Marr, her revelations of mental health issues and struggles did mean that, in the audience, sometimes we didn’t know whether to laugh uproariously or pass the hat around to get her a party-size bottle of valium.

Tickets: $30-42

Mel Buttle, Not Here To Put Socks On Centipedes will be performing in the Supper Room at the Town Hall until 21 April 2024 as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF 2024).

Madeleine Swain is ArtsHub’s managing editor. Originally from England where she trained as an actor, she has over 25 years’ experience as a writer, editor and film reviewer in print, television, radio and online. She is also currently Vice Chair of JOY Media.