Cameron James believes that everyone is guided in life by two little voices in their head; the “Chilled Out” one, who’s responsible for telling you to calm down, and the “Fired Up” one, the one who goes, “maybe you should hit that guy”. It’s a theory he’s come to after working many, many awful gigs, most of them corporate, but the worst, to his mind, is one he did for charity. In the aptly named Chilled Out/Fired Up – a new hour of stand-up – he’s excited to tell you why.
One thing that’s immediately obvious about James is his extreme amounts of confidence in working a room, a skill surely gleamed from those many corporate gigs. He remarks early that, given the Greek Centre is usually an office building he feels at home – and also acts as a precursory warning that his story of that worst is going to be hilarious. It absolutely doesn’t disappoint. His material is also clearly polished, as evidenced by his delivery, but he’s able to seamlessly transition between the crowd work and the written material, without the all too common, “uh, where was I?”.
Between his back-and-forth with the audience and the retelling of his worst gig ever, there’s some exceptional material about life’s most annoying everyday challenges; there’s a wonderful tangent about the process of trying to get pandas pregnant, escalating all the way to what it must be like to work as the director of a…erm…erotic material for the same, that had me in stitches. His descriptions of the kinds of alcohol drunk by different age groups gets chuckles all round. Broadly, Chilled Out/Fired Up is about those moments in life when you have to decided which of these voices you listen to, when sometimes you have to take a little of both, and how choosing the wrong one can be both disastrous, and hilarious.
Chilled Out/Fired Up is on at 7pm at the Greek Centre until 22 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets, show details and accessibility information is available via the MICF website.