Frank Woodley opened up his set recognising that he had participated in the Melbourne Comedy Festival for decades!!! How do you discuss a comedian’s set when they have been in the comedy business for so long? I love Woodley and the world knows how talented he is. Nevertheless, I struggled with Woodley’s show ‘Extra Ordinary’.
Woodley has a masterful stage presence and his facial expressions are intense and almost whimsical. He controlled the audience with a simple eyebrow movement or a smile. Where he lost me was his yelling. I loved watching him in ‘The Adventures of Lano and Woodley’ which contained a fair bit of yelling and I’ve seen TV spots where there were levels of raised voices but this show felt different.
When back on track, Woodley was entrancing, his scripted punch lines landed and the audience appeared to immerse themselves in the gig. When Woodley was out of control and screaming at the audience, repeating the same punch line over and over again, he lost me.
It was difficult to determine if this was Woodley at his excellent best, seeing where he could push the audience but at times, it felt like he was having a bad night. And that’s ok. That is what live comedy is about. There is a human element to stand-up and sometimes things do not work out how you plan them. Woodley would not have been doing this for so many years and not be great at what he does. It just shows that even the best occasionally have a bad day. He probably just needed a hug.