How do you review a comedy show for which the comedian does not do a show?
I sat down in the Rainy Hall, off the Mound, expecting to enjoy a set from the Australian talent Adam Hills. My expectations were quickly dashed; Hills announces, straight off, that there is no show.
Hills has discovered that the parts of the show he most enjoys are the 15 minutes of banter he has with the audience before launching into his routine. The result? He’d spend the full hour chatting to the audience for Mess Around. It’s all about messing around with the audience.
In fairness, if I’d done any research – like checking out his blog before hand then I’d have known this.
Normally the idea of being trapped in an audience while the comedian prowls amongst us looking for people to build jokes off would fill me with dread. Fortunately that wasn’t the case with Adam Hills. Messing around with the audience for 60 minutes might not have been what I expected but Hills is well known for not poking fun at people.
Yes. Hills worked the whole room expertly for the full hour and enjoyed some of the loudest laughs I’ve heard all festivals.
We found a multi-national first row, including a trio from Brazil and Italy (strange mix; more humour) that had found Hills via YouTube. There was a crowd surfing gnome called Brian.
All of the antics have been documented by Hills himself. Each show gets a blog post and the pictures in this post come from there.
Perhaps the question should be; why does it work?
Hills makes this work for two reasons; he now has loads of stories and material to pull from and perhaps most importantly he’s smart enough to make the connections in lightening quick time and pull jokes out each encounter.