Saturday, 28 March 2015

Wil Anderson in Free Wil, 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. KH

Wil Anderson’s stand-up is fast and furious and his improvised riffs when he goes off script provide some of the funniest moments in his new show, Free Wil.

If normal chatter is 3 words per second, Wil must run at 10 per second to keep up with all his intense and rambling thoughts and theories.

His material is eclectic, smart and hilarious, covering a dizzying array of topics, many of which are about his life in Los Angeles where he now lives most of the time.

Like other comics, he starts the show talking to, or tormenting (depending where you are sitting) audience members and latecomers.

“What’s your name? What do you do for a living?” are his standard icebreakers with alarmed audience members.

These harmless questions elicit gems and trigger a high-speed, stream of consciousness rave from Wil about teenage boys, teachers, bean counters, the typical Aussie bloke or hipster beards.

His show is dynamic and cunningly structured, his quips are witty and his comedy detours are complex and clever, always leading him back to his original topics – to our amazement.

This is a two-beer show for Wil, who sucks on a bottle every few gags and ramps up his pace and his fervour over the hour.

He relates how he learned about quantum physics and multi-universes from a taxi driver, and how he baits racist and homophobic Uber drivers in Los Angeles.

We hear tales of touring his show in the US, how his greatest fear finally came true (no spoilers) and how he barely escaped with his life on the streets of LA.

Wil talks about stuff that comics usually avoid such as the principles of living or theories about faith or quantum physics and we see tantalising glimpses of Political Wil, his dedicated political comedy show that is upcoming during the Comedy Festival.

His twenty years as a stand-up make Wil Anderson a consummate performer and his intelligence and wit provide a challenging and riotous hour for an audience.

Oh, and his first name has only one “L” in it. Wil. Seems fair. At least it doesn’t have a silent “Q”.

By Kate Herbert

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