Restless Andrew McClelland may be the Lady Gaga of Australian comedy as he’s frequently looking for a new slant on his discipline. Previous shows have used PowerPoint and video footage, and covered topics such as Pirates and (with Lawrence Leung) secret societies and time ninjas. At MICF 2012 he’s the creative force behind a live silent film Tie Her To The Tracks and Andrew McClelland’s One Man Stand, a line up of various comedians and styles, all played by McClelland due to “budgetary constraints”.
The various styles or nationalities on the bill broadly include an Irish comedian, Ocker comedy, absurdism, a softly spoken introvert, a non-native English speaker and a brash Italo-American, and all are parodied as well as given unexpected twists. In some cases it seemed that it was not only a style that was being parodied; some mannerisms of the comedian characters bore a remarkable similarity to performers at this festival, and this recognition added an extra punch to the laughs.
There were also some clever observations on the nature of comedy shows, such as this cooed by the Irish headlining act, “I’m going to do some local material that you’d find obvious if it came from a local comedian, but from me you’ll be charmed.”
There’s also a quite unexpected celebrity filling the “first timer” slot on the bill, which gave another example of both McClelland’s original thinking and his respect for the intelligence of his audience.
McClelland does an outstanding job of the various accents and is clearly having fun in his roles, improvising as he interacts with the audience. Some of the characters were stronger than others, and McClelland seemed to recognise this and cut short an underperforming section to move on to something else. This in itself shows an uncommon awareness and ability to keep the momentum of the show going.
McClelland’s effort in preparation and delivery ensure that his show is consistently amusing and gives satisfying laughs. I wish he would start teaching courses to some of his peers.