Political Asylum’s Late Night Riot!, an 11pm, Saturday-only show with a number of comics, promises the vigour of the house of representatives, but was often more like the senate. The line-up changes from week to week and will subsequently include Fear of a Brown Planet performers (Nazeem Hussain and Aahmer Rahmen), so you may like to consult politicalasylum.com.au for who’s on for the remaining three shows.
MC Mathew Kenneally does a pretty good job of getting laughs between acts, but undid a lot of his good work with frequent and unnecessary noisy fiddling with the mic stand and a habit of exhaling into his microphone.
We were informed that Rod Quantock was absent from the line-up due to food poisoning, and this was a telling absence. Minus Quantock, the “riot” often lacked enough Molotov cocktails to apply real heat to the ruling classes. There was some topical material, some not so topical, and some unnecessary vulgarity from performers who may think they are a bit more clever than they actually are. The audience did enjoy some good laughs over the 90 minutes, but there were some flat patches, and some jokes stretched to death.
Stella Young showed some form with material on why she was an unlikely terrorist, and Damian Callinan did his best to save the night, less rapid-fire than others in his delivery, but scoring more hits. His contemplative visiting Austrian conductor Klaus Amstell had some winning outsider observations on Melbourne’s festival culture. His insider comments on the comedy scene were appealingly brutal, such as when he spoke of 23-year-old comedians doing shows about lives they were yet to have. A character change into Australia’s favourite right wing bush poet also gave laughs, and probably would have been even funnier if we hadn’t already heard so much about mining magnate Gina Rinehart on the night.
Overall, this was as hit and miss as an episode of Q&A these days. At the Melbourne Town Hall a full-price ticket to the show and a drink is slightly more than a full price ticket to Carl-Einar Häckner’s brilliant show Handluggage – he’s not aiming to be “political”, just succeeding in being very funny. Vote as your heart tells you.