Deanne Smith, Nick Cody – MICF2017

Laughing while the world goes to hell, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Boyish girly man lady; bearded chap on a chair.
Boyish girly man lady; bearded chap on a chair.

Deanne Smith – Post-Joke Era (Taxi Riverside)
The glorious ‘gentleman elf’ from Canada (I stand by my assertion that she’s among the world’s best comics; I’ve seen her at MICF in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015; she can’t escape me) returns to MICF after a couple of years in absentia; having grappled with death and relationships in 2015’s Get Into It, she now takes on the after effects of having found new ways to deal with her mental health – and targets depression with gusto and verve. She also tackles gender identity, age, and a few pointed observations about getting on in years (clue: if you doubled your current age, and then died, and it wouldn’t be considered tragic… middle aged). She came up with some excellent marketing hyperbole about combining age with youth, but the word escaped me (sagacity? that could do it). The ‘post-joke era’ referred to in the show’s title suggests that we’re in a Trump universe now where absurdity at the highest point is beyond ridicule, but surprisingly the show was more intimate than one touching on geo-politics. Deanne Smith is comedy’s answer to a fun-sized Snickers bar, albeit a great deal more nourishing. Put *that* on a poster, I dare you.

Nick Cody – On Fire (Melbourne Town Hall)
Hey look… it’s good to see a local lad done good. Nick Cody, who couldn’t be more Australian if he was smothered in Vegemite, delivers in On Fire a smooth, bawdy, un-PC show having made appearances on Conan and at Montreal’s Just For Laughs. Much like he was doing last year, Cody recalls essentially what is the previous year in the life; in this instance he’s gone from being a man with a girlfriend to a man with a wife, and now he has some anger management issues and a hefty appetite for chocolate. It was Easter Sundy when we checked in with Nick, who seems to be a might heftier for the festivities than he was a year ago (not that I’m body shaming). Cody’s performance is fast, honed and hits all the right notes. There is something to say about a local comic who you see and think, ‘He’s got it,’ the one that will go the distance because of the innate funny bones. Nice work, champ.

What with the world in all likelihood headed for oblivion, it’s nice to know we can still have a laugh. Gosh, when the apocalypse comes, I’ll miss the Melbourne Comedy Festival…

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