Saturday, 28 March 2015

Dave Hughes in Pumped, 27 March 2015 ***1/2

Comedy Theatre, until 19 April 2015 
Melbourne Comedy Festival
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars: ***1/2
Review also published in Herald Sun online today, Sat 28 March. KH

Employing his own brand of feigned oafishness, Dave Hughes purposely stammers and bumbles his way through a routine about familiar and predictable topics including family, fame, travel and fans.

After teasing the front rows of the audience and taunting the latecomers, he slams Jetstar for its appalling treatment of him and vows to spend the next 10 years bagging them – a plan that garners feverish applause.

He has a red-hot go at the pseudo-celebrities on reality TV, the Bombers and their drug scandals and The Gold Coast for its Bogans with their sleeve tattoos.

He trades on his raddled looks that make him appear as if he has gone three rounds with a bottle of Jim Beam and a prize fighter, although Hughes is totally clean living – he says.

He vigorously attacks his targets first, then retreats, laughs and apologises with studied, insincere sincerity.

To pacify his audience after his irate rants, he peppers his hour of stand-up with the repeated phrases, “You’re a great crowd. Never forget it”, and “Good on you. Good on me. Good on them.”

In comedy, repetition is your friend. Repetition is your friend.

Hughsey’s delivery is slightly slurred and deliberately messy as he pays out on Jamie Oliver, One Direction and the anonymous critics of his appearances on The Footy Show.

He declares his love of fish and chips and how he associates that old-fashioned, fast food with Friday nights – very 1960s of him – and he reincorporates this passion for fried fish frequently throughout his routine.

Tales of being bailed up by fans in public, being heckled on the street, being recognised by hookers and followed by surly beggars provide some good laughs.

He slings some barbs at real estate agents, celebrates the Middle Eastern Shisha pipe and muses over the London Underground.

Bags of material come from his family, the travails of flying to the USA with three kids under 5, being the target of kid-haters on the plane, the perils of driving in LA and the kids’ shenanigans in the pool at their hotel.

Hughsey bravely confesses his relief at being on the road as a solo comedian and reveals his wife’s understandable resentment of his freedom when she is at home wrangling the kids.

Although some of his material lacks the pay-off at the end of a joke or feels a little undercooked, Hughes has a strong following and gets the crowd laughing for an hour.

By Kate Herbert

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