Comedian, writer & Filmmaker

Show Us Your Roots review – Australian Stage Online

I was lucky enough to be invited to perform at Show Us Your Roots in Canberra – here is a review I came across.  I’ve arrogantly bolded the bit that mentions me.

Taking the piss’ Aussie humour – if you have don’t have a mullet

Quintessential Australian comedy can either be taking the piss or sh*tting all over something or someone – exactly what comprises Show Us Your Roots. The 10 stand–up acts of two-and-a-bit hours are a mix of insightful humour and gratuitous or somewhat offensive material. Overall, the show is fast-paced – and funny – depending on who or what is the butt of the joke.

Saturday 7th of Feb was a full house at the Canberra Theatre as Canberrans took leave from the heated throngs of the nearby multicultural food fest to sit back and be led into some laughs. Show Us Your Roots is a set of acts each introduced by host Mick Molloy – who has been in Aussie TV shows and most notably the late 80s D-Generation of ABC.

Swaggering along the stage, Canberra-born Molloy brought together local elements for the regular Multicultural feature event and kept the audience’s attention with improvisation and making light of the occasional stuff-up on his part or that of the performers.

Running between the themes of each is the thread of multiculturalism – most performers relating their story of their relationship of being Australian and blending with their other culture, whether it is Vietnamese, Lebanese or South African. What follows is a mix of self-effacing stereotypes such as tight-wad Jews (Dave Smiedt) and crime-baron Lebs (Sam Makhoul) – which are funny when milked for effect, but overwrought when strangled through repetition and occasional insult to the audience, as with George Smilovici.

More middle-of-the-road but with some funny glimpses into the comedian’s lives, included ‘midget’ Imaan and his ‘cripple dance’, and Lap Phan’s description of emotional bonding to rednecks.

Seasoned comedian George Smilovici hit the nail on the head by identifying what makes Aussies the way we are – apathy, aka ‘don’t give a sh*t’. However this point was rammed in too much to hang any substantial comedy to, then plastered over with random bits that did not equal the elements of comedy. Also rambled in there was his twisting the knife into ockerisms – funny to the majority of the audience (champagne socialist types), but the bogans behind me felt affronted and grunted ‘get him off’, just as they would later boof out ‘show us your tits’ to belly-dancing Rima.

Less antagonistic but humorously insightful headline drawcard Tahir – from SBS’s comedy Pizza – was in fine form, with his funny observance of in-flight happenings and aircraft captain bedroom antics.

The joking briefly distended into the toilet humour variety with Brian Chandler, but it was not so much crude as just incredulously ‘No way!’ – as if a mate was telling the story at the pub, and overall was entertaining.

The acts that seemed out of place was the belly dancing antics of Rima of Big Brother, whose talent is assured in the shimmy-shake department, but was too long to be relevant. Also tacked on was George Smilovici’s guitar solo. Both of which were like a chef showing diners that he can juggle, when all we came for was a steak and chips.

Comedy is a genre that thrives on audience reaction – the better the comedian adjusts, then the more likely people will be holding their sides and wiping their eyes from genuine laughter. The highlight act who met these criteria was Jason Chong and his Kasey Chambers rip-off song that had the audience in stitches. His earnest charisma and natural stage presence made the audience sing along and get involved.

The Axis of Awesome trio rounded off the show with a clever musical composition that showed their talent as performers who realised that their niche would be as round pegs in a square hole.

Overall, Show Us Your Roots has original jokes with some gratuitous content like a comedy DVD but with the ‘what the?’ extras put in it. If you like insightful ‘that is sooooo true’ humour, then the majority of the acts will see you smiling constantly, and rippling with a chuckle. But beware, bogans are the butt of the humour, so mullet and ugh boots would be better off at the pub.

– Adrienne Gross, 9th February 2009

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