Five jobs. One marriage. One home. Two cars. One mother. Don’t you just hate it when you lose stuff?
Luke Leonard has had a tough run. His marriage is over, his mother has cancer, and his car broke down. Leonard’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Mirth has the potential to be one of the most depressing shows of the festival. And in some ways it is. But it’s also one of the funniest.
A lot of comedy plumps the depths of human misery to for the sake of good content, but doing it well takes a lot of skill and craft. It’s a testament to Leonard’s talent that he can draw on such a raw experience of his own for the entertainment of others. This show is appropriately titled, that’s for sure. It’s a bleak dialectic. Despite this, Leonard brings a quiet yet seemingly boundless sense of joy to his comedy.
Leonard’s stage presence is utterly endearing, with an easy smile and affable manner. He knows how to turn his full vocal range to draw the most from each punchline, he’s an utterly engaging storyteller. Leonard is comfortable onstage too, unafraid to use all of the Imperial’s small stage to act out key scenes and punctuate his jokes. The audience are like putty for Leonard to emotionally pull between laughter and sympathy and back again, bouncing off each dramatic low and well-told story straight into the big punchlines.
Leonard might have had a tough run in life, but it’s unlikely that’s the case for his comedy festival show; Mirth is a hilariously bleak slice of life story, and it’s worth seeing.
Mirth is on until 22 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Show details, tickets and accessibility information can be found via the MICF website.