Greg Larsen’s Useful Idiot is a brash and gut-bustingly funny account of one man’s journey through progressive politics. From the heady days of teenage protest punk to the more anodyne drudgery of conversing with fascists on Facebook, Greg’s seen it all, and he’s had a bloody gutful. Hot off of last year’s Grub in the Muck, and building off of some of the choice satire in 2016’s True Australian Patriots, Useful Idiot is another bold installment in the Larsen political saga, and is an absolute must-see for the concerned Melbournian.
This year’s show is less experimental and more confessional, with Larsen guiding the audience through his early days as an amped-up Gen-X anarchist, towards his more comfortable life as a down-tempo, video-gaming father. Fans of gentler political comedy will be delighted to hear present-day Greg’s tribute to incremental change and radical empathy, while former fans of the ABC’s Tonightly will thrill to see the man in his natural habitat as a standup. Though confessional, the show is full of fake-outs and misdirection, which are carried by Larsen’s uniquely nerve-wracked delivery. The versatile shift between mundane anecdotes about swilling custard from the bottle to in-depth critiques of One Nation is breathtaking to behold, and a credit to the fine-tuned comedy machine humming beneath Larsen’s anxious persona. The audience is on-board throughout, with spontaneous bursts of clapping and genuine cheering occurring amidst the laughter.
Greg Larsen’s invigorating reworking of his own political journey can work wonders for yours too. If you’re wondering what happened to your own activist moxie, or you’re keen to embrace some damn fine alternative Aussie comedy, Useful Idiot is a definite “yes, I can” for you.
Useful Idiot is on at the Melbourne Town Hall until the 21st of April, every night except Mondays, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Book your tickets via the comedy festival website