Comedy Should Be Funny

You know how when you walk away from a comedy night you’re supposed to feel good about the world? Tonight I’ve walked away feeling a bit grumpy.

Overall, I really loved the Comedy Showcase tonight at Sydney’s Comedy Store. I thought the comedians (all part-timers I suspect, and all quite young, aside from Merrick Watts who has a radio job) were all pretty bloody funny. I had several laugh out loud moments, in common with the rest of the audience.

One of the most memorable lines came from a comedian from Perth who said he had moved to Sydney and lived in a “pretty dodgy” area. “Everywhere in the morning there are people running. I don’t know if it’s fitness or witness”, he said. Clever, I thought.

But it was the “lead act”, a Canadian called Dave Merheje who left me and I suspect a fair bit of the audience cold. Though he started off getting a fair few laughs from the audience, they subsided as he went into quite intimate detail about his personal life. Comedy is best (IMHO) when the comedian gets you to think about the absurdities of your own life. They tell stories that you can relate to, or at least can imagine yourself in. But Dave made the stories all about himself, and he didn’t know when to get off the stage.

“You guys aren’t laughing”, he said at one point, almost berating the audience. Finally, he almost “gave up” in frustration, and left the stage quite quickly. I honestly think he could have had a better response if he had flipped the stories around. Instead of saying “I did this, and my girlfriend did that”, he could have made the stories more relatable by saying “You know what it’s like when..” Instead of talking at us, he could then have more effectively spoken to us.

As I walked home I listened in to the conversations of others seeing the show. They had similar thoughts to myself.

Dave said, it was a fun night.