Friday, 28 March 2003

Daniel Kitson - Something, March 28, 2003

Daniel Kitson   - Something  
Melbourne Comedy Festival

Lower Melbourne Town Hall, March 28 to April 20, 2003 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Daniel Kitson looks like an unmade bed. He is an old doona with a messy haircut. If you like a shambling, recalcitrant, young maverick, he's your guy.

Kitson makes a feast of his own flaws. He has a stammer, a lisp, he's chubby and short, asthmatic and myopic. It's a good bet he avoided beatings by school bullies by being funny as all get out.

He also has, as he describes it, a potty mouth. Kitson is not afraid to use words that are only allowed on tele after 9pm. His presence and style are initially disconcerting. He rarely looks directly at the audience from behind his goggle-eyed spectacles.

He strolls about the stage, head down, taking his time getting to the joke but all the time being pretty damned funny.
 He has a lazy manner that allows him to lull us into complacency. Suddenly his sharp mind, quick wit and obvious intellect and education leap at us. He slips literary and political references in under out guard.

Much of his material is based around his droll Northern English family. More particularly he focuses on his grandmother who died recently. She was rude, short, fat and unbridled. Even her funeral was funny. Kitson jokes about  his Downes Syndrome aunt, feisty uncle and dry-witted dad.

His self-deprecation is intrinsic to his appeal. He hits his sensitive spots before we can. Echoes of the school ground and bully avoidance again. He challenges his own views on love and his fantasies about romance. He has not found his perfect partner because he's too bloody picky - or she's hiding in a bomb shelter being anti-social.

He talks a lot about sex and makes all the men in the audience nervous by talking about occasional impotence. His references to the armed forces are frequent. One whole routine is based around a belligerent audience member - a drunken young soldier who took a dislike to Kitson's criticism of the army.

You need to be resilient to be a comic. Kitson, despite his nerdy appearance, is a potent character with a strange blend of filth and intellect.

By Kate Herbert

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