Stand-up comedy has a long and noticeably male Anglo trend of performers – for Australia, think Wil Anderson, Frank Woodley, or Adam Hills as examples. Even a quick Google search for top comedians brings up a list of white male comedians (of various degrees of straightness, and we will leave Barry Humphries aside), with only one woman making an appearance (Rebel Wilson). Which is why the sold-out performance of Ethnic City, which featured a variety of different comedians of different backgrounds (ethnic and experience) is so exciting.
Having six comedians and an MC (grand total of seven performers) does run the potential risk of similar stories and styles – a performer stands up and says a few jokes, all around slightly typical themes (for non-Anglo traditions in Australia, mocking the parents seems to be a classic). Fortunately this was averted in Ethnic City, with each comedian bringing different styles (including a musical number) for the audience to experience. The different styles and downright quirky nature of some of the performers ensured that it was always slightly different each time.
Plus the MC Randy Adeva was very good at keeping the energy going between each act – very crucial in regards to these shows where delays and changeovers can be very damaging to the flow. The range of comedians was good for an hour show – each performer managed to highlight completely different worldviews and experiences. The show flowed well, with the different comedians balancing styles and experience in an effective manner. The jokes themselves were varied as well – without giving too much away, they were suitably universal in appeal, whilst not shying away from more sensitive topics.
Overall, a fun and lively performance, with enough variety to keep things interesting and engaging. The jokes were suitably varied and did not exclusively rely on cheap punchlines around ethnicity, although there were enough in there to remind the audience about the premise of the show. A full house turnout is a better recommendation than any review though, so definitely check it out (and book online to get tickets – don’t rely on them being at the door).
Ethnic City is on at 7pm on Fridays from 24 May to 14 June at the Improv Conspiracy. Tickets can be purchased via the Improv Conspiracy website or at the venue.