There seems a trend in smaller rooms this Melbourne International Comedy Festival for comedians who revel in the chance to “work the crowd”; by no means an easy feat, for if you stumble, you can lose control all too fast. Gerard McGowan possess this skill in spades, and is therefore very quickly able to both involve, but also dominate the room with his charm and confidence and easy going style. His latest show, Only Getting Funnier, is an hour of personal stories. His recounting of a particular incident involving a Tinder date that results in a girl basically stealing a pizza, rapidly escalating to near insanity had myself and a large portion of the audience in hysterics, the bizarre relatabilty of the madness that ensued evoking laughter of recognition. We’ve all, at one time or another, been that petty and felt entirely justified about it.
McGowan is a two time RAW State Finalist, and, watching him on stage, it’s very obvious why. The smaller rooms of the Greek Centre allow very little to go unmissed, so a performer needs to be sure of their material and of their ability to – as it were – “get the audience on side”. McGowan’s material is polished – evidently, he’s had a lot of experience and has put a lot of work into it – and the audience are pulled in by his relaxed and friendly attitude, leading to his more aggressive or subversive jokes coming across as a bit “naughty”.
That having been said, all his “naughty” stuff is very self-focussed and deprecating (apart, of course, from the aforementioned pizza). He’s been quoted as saying, “No one complains when you hang shit on yourself,” which is very true, and you’d be hard pressed to find anything to be offended by. This doesn’t, however, prevent him from being exceedingly funny; his the quality of his material is actually vastly improved by not taking pot-shots at easy, or celebrity, targets.
Only Getting Funnier. is at the Greek Centre at 9:30pm until 22 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. For tickets, show details and accessibility information, check out the MICF website.