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Starting off my 2017 comedy year, I visited Dirty Secrets Comedy, which is held every Wednesday from 8:30pm. Dirty Secrets Comedy consistently puts on balanced brackets even when comedians on the bill are late withdrawals. On 11 January 2017, we enjoyed sets from Luka Muller, Peter Jones, Luke Ryan, Cait Johnson, Sonia Di Iorio, Greg Larsen, Jonathan Schuster, Jack Druce, Jess Perkins, Claire Hagan and Michael Shafar.
Our MC for the night Luka Muller set up the night with a relaxed pace but got the audience going for the first act of the night, Peter Jones. Over the course of a couple of sets in the last few of months, Peter has performed consistently funny material, with each set being comprised of new material or improvements on existing material. His style is not particularly abrasive and centres on observational humour largely drawn from his own life. A particular skill of Peter’s is to speak clearly and confidently meaning his punch lines have the best chance of hitting their mark.
A comedian whose writing was excellent but whose delivery could be improved is Claire Hagan. Her delivery is soft and understated, which is not necessarily a bad thing but some punch lines did not resonate when delivered without precision.
A few comedians including Luke Ryan, Cait Johnson and Sonia Di Iorio, who I had never seen perform before, left positive first impressions. Luke had a solid opener and finished off his set with strong material, showing he had more in the bank for other gigs. Cait’s deadpan and to the point delivery was funny and quite enjoyable to watch. She was at times self-deprecating, showing humility but not so much that it demanded pity from the audience. Similarly, Sonia had moments of self-deprecation but her style appeared much more direct and overtly confident. In addition to Sonia demonstrating excellent colour coordination, she also had gems of punch lines hidden throughout her set.
Luka Muller opened up the second bracket with more energy and some killer jokes. He hit his stride when he was confident and did not get caught up in his emotions. In particular, Luka’s set about the man cave was divisive but very funny.
While I can understand the benefits of using a mobile phone during stand up, I am torn whether or not they should be used so frequently at comedy nights. I appreciate their utility as a memory aid or to add a theatrical element. However, comedians must justify their use by adding their own personality or a unique delivery to the prop. This performance element is essential otherwise the audience may feel like they could just read similar (or the same) content online.
Greg Larsen found a good balance between these two elements. He broke up the use of the phone with entertaining commentary and delighted the audience in the joys of trolling. Jess Perkins was equally hilarious with the majority of her set delivered with precision. The latter section that utilised a phone could have benefited from being memorised; this would have allowed Jess’ personality and excellent stage presence to be front and centre rather than the phone.
Returning from his international tour, Michael Shafar recounted tales from his adventures and put forward entertaining stories about religion and its influence on society. Michael excels when he brings greater meaning to personal or local events by relating them to larger more global issues.
Thanks to Dirty Secrets Comedy for putting on another entertaining night!