Saturday, 7 April 2018
Matt Okine in The Hat Game, April 5, 2018 ***
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Melbourne Town Hall, Supper Room, until April 22, 2018
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun online on Friday April 6, 2018. KH
Matt Okine looks comfortably casual in his jeans, sneakers, black t-shirt and cap, and his attitude and physicality is just as casual and loose throughout his show, The Hat Game.
He strolls across the stage, riffing on iPhones, bus tickets, peanuts, and how you can use credit cards to buy just about anything, anywhere. He rants about social media, idiots that populate that online world, Facebook ads, and Big Data.
Okine identifies himself as 'brown' then sticks the boot into racism in general, and, specifically, Australian political racism exhibited by One Nation.
His running story about seeking dual citizenship with Ghana (his father’s Ghanaian) has a comic pay-off by the end. Another running story dates from 10 years ago when he was barely scraping a living as a novice comedian, and his visits to the casino at that time provide material about winning and losing – and losing again.
His routine includes some tightly structured gags with clever tag lines and pay-offs, but he also wanders into some long, slow and relatively unformed lead-ups to jokes that don't always generate laughs, and its all riddled with expletives.
One gag makes the entire audience simultaneously laugh and groan with disapproval (or disgust?), because it is essentially a bit offensive. He admits he loves this gag, then spends the next 5 minutes analysing its comedic value.
Okine often delivers his material to the ceiling, which disengages him from his audience, and he wastes his final minutes unnecessarily listing his performance resumé, from his past as a struggling stand-up to his recent TV success.
While Okine’s blokey casualness obviously appeals to his audience and he has comedic skill, his material and delivery can be uneven.