Michael Hing is one of those performers you don’t realise you know until you see them onstage. One of the hosts of ABC’s new Good Game: Pocket, “Hingers”, as he is known on the show, has been doing stand up shows about everything from racism and equality to love and romance. His 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Much Ado About Not Hing, addresses some lighter themes, although under each story lies the conflict between Hing’s anxiety and his desire to not be a creep.
Hing, it should be stated, is definitely not a creep. His stories about his poor decision-making are charming and highly relatable, beats of awkwardness from everyone’s every day life exaggerated to extremes that make the audience squirm in their seat and then burst out laughing. Hing’s stage presence is the nervous kind of laid back, and his personality comes off as intelligent, sensitive and friendly. Hing uses the contrast between the way he appears and the things he has done as a source of comedy incongruity. His experience in performative media, from stand up to radio and television, means that Hing’s delivery is solid and expressive, each punch line is given enough pause to hit its hardest.
There are moments where the content of the jokes borders on ‘too far’ for some audience members, but Hing is attentive enough to notice and tailor the material accordingly. The show is low key and laugh out loud funny. Hing laments the lack of Shakespearean through line in the show, having titled it and not realised the reference, but even that lament is laden with light hearted humour.
Hing’s style here is conversational rather than confrontational like some of his previous stand up sets. You’ll want to offer to buy him a beer or share some dumplings at the end of the hour.
Much Ado About Not Hing is on at the Portland Hotel at 8:15pm until April 19th. Tickets range between $15 and $20 and are available online, at the door or at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival box office.