Raging Against The Machine(s): Jimmy McGhie

Party animal, technological luddite, sophisticated English gentleman and consummate man about town Jimmy McGhie is coming to town for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) and he’s noticed something. Dozens of things in fact. I spoke to him at about 12:30pm (which is about 3am in Comedian Standard Time (CST), a most unreasonable hour when you’re working nights).

Hypothetical: You’re sitting in an audience enchanted by the captivating Jimmy McGhie, when all of a sudden he starts talking about mobile phones. What is your response? If you answered: cheerful engagement with the material, you’ll be surprised to know that Jimmy has begun noticing that even talking about mobile phones is enough of a reminder that it causes about twenty percent of audience members to whip out their phones and start texting. Apparently mere mention of mobile phones rings the proverbial Pavlovian bell deep within our collective minds! I’m aware even this foray has probably caused some anxiety in the twenty percent, so go on, check your phone, I’ll wait.

Jimmy McGhie

McGhie, on the other hand, will not wait for you to reply to that new Tinder match. He is a 33 year old comedian with the world at his feet (or at least somewhere nearby his knees) and if you have a phone to your face “lighting it up like you’re telling a ghost story,” you can expect a rebuke, and justifiably so in this writer’s opinion. We chat about the rigours of comedy and the necessary evils of doing TV gigs as they enable you to do more stand-up to live audiences; McGhie’s passion and prime reason for returning to the MICF. McGhie is doing his first solo show at the MICF in 2014, and if past performances are any guide, it should make for a fascinating evening of razor-sharp observations and yes, digs at the smartphone-obsessed.

McGhie is well travelled: even for a globetrotting comedian, he can be regularly found gallivanting around Asia performing to ex-pats and locals alike, but he finds Australia a bit confounding. He’s no stranger to the competitive relationship between Melbourne and Sydney either, reflecting he is “married to Melbourne but I’d have an affair with Sydney. Melbourne is like your life but Sydney is the hot little bit on the side”. Our civility surrounding communal barbecuing facilities is also a mystery. How can so many people with competing sausage interests behave so cooperatively!?

If you want to watch McGhie’s mind unravel, reravel and if there’s time, unravel once more live on stage you should get along to ‘Artificial Intelligence’. It’s his first time doing a solo show in Melbourne so you’re bound to be in for a treat. For more information and to book tickets, check out the Comedy Festival website here.

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