Tuesday, 1 April 2003

Boothby Graffo, Melbourne Comedy Festival, April 1, 2003

Boothby Graffo

Melbourne Comedy Festival
 Melbourne Town Hal, March 28 to 20, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Boothby Graffo is funny in a way unlike any of the other comics in the Comedy Festival. This makes him a refreshing change from regular stand-ups. He is like a one man Goons show. He does really goofy absurd material and plays plenty of silly characters.

One of Boothby's greatest skills is destroying his own illusions. He plays two characters talking to each other y turning his head side to side to speak as each character in turn. Once established, he then proceeds to annihilate the illusion for us. "You don't exist," he tells his cute child character or his sweetie pie kitten.

He points out his performance flaws constantly. Mistakes become gifts in his hands. When his Arabic accent becomes French, he gets plenty of mileage out of it. In fact, almost every accent he does degenerates hilariously into French.

His jokes are like enormous mazes. We wander around inside them twisting our perception to keep up with his racing patter and the innumerable detours he takes on the way. He uses random collisions of ideas and bizarre word associations as he stares at us goggle eyed, pulling faces.

 His gentle political and cultural references are well informed. He tells us he does not do observational comedy and then attempts to prove it by trying it. His timing is impeccable, his face mobile and h plays a mean guitar. I mean, he can really play the guitar.

The original songs are filled with eliptical references and absurd diversions. The one about Granny on a life support system plus cocaine is a beauty. The Golf Song highlights the sheer idiocy of the game and Bungie Girl is inspired. The song I'm always trying to do things I haven't quite learned to do, has terrific lyrics ut some simple gags with guitar chords.

He engages us immediately, surprises us constantly and astonishes us with his twists and turns. When he talks about traffic and trams in Melbourne or the weather it does not feel like any other comic talking about the banal.

The audience is on a wild roller coaster ride with Boothby Graffo and it is worth the ticket price.

By Kate Herbert

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