No one shot the messenger at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Sunday night. And really, who would have? When the messenger is as lovable as Scottish-Indian comedian Danny Bhoy the only aim is to keep the laughs coming.
To be honest – or as Bhoy would put it, ‘balls out’ – I’m a huge fan of the charismatic funny man, having seen a number of his previous shows. This year, he entertained Melbournians at the Playhouse Theatre with his new show Messenger (Please Do Not Shoot), and he was received with warm and open – albeit shaking-from-uncontrollable-laughter – arms.
The UK-based comic had his audience in stitches from the get go, introducing his own act as a chance to laugh in a country sadly overrun by floods, fires and… Oprah Winfrey? I knew then, despite the simplistic set, that I was in for a good night.
Continuing with the Aussie theme, the witty Scotsman mimicked the indecisiveness of young drunken women in Melbourne after a night on the town. With shoes in hand and a feminine waddle, his interpretation was a crowd favourite and can only be described as being ‘funny because it’s true’.
For Australians in the audience who didn’t love him already, his outrage over our 2022 FIFA World Cup bid, accentuated by his amusing take on Qatar’s no-alcohol and no-swearing policies, would have won them over.
Even non-alcoholic beverages got a mention as the inherently observant stand-up teetered between impressions of Melbourne’s coffee obsession and Britain’s stereotypical love of tea.
Then, after a Dr Seuss style monologue, came the part of the show that is also the tour’s namesake, and it definitely exceeded expectations. Putting his degree in history to good use, Bhoy explained the role of the messenger boy for the first king of England, complete with a flamboyant demonstration of riding side-saddle on an imaginary horse.
And in true Danny Bhoy style, the show wasn’t complete without a few anecdotes from his personal life. Before sharing his encounter with actor Matt Damon, who wasn’t in the film Titanic, Bhoy took us back to his school days and the French class where he learnt the words ‘une banane’.
The 80-minute performance referenced everything from homosexual Vikings, with metal spikes protruding from the armour on their crotch, to the idea of Shakespeare playing Scrabble in a neck ruff; and needless to say took ‘going off on a tangent’ to a whole new level.
While he may not have got the reception he hoped for in the States, the oddly relatable Danny Bhoy had me in hysterics from beginning to end, with his comic genius and decent Aussie accent.
Danny Bhoy’s Australian tour wraps up on May 7. You can find out more on his website.
Jessica Buccolieri is a Journalism Honours student at La Trobe University and a member of the upstart editorial team. She is currently writing a thesis about the effects of social media on modern journalism. You can follow her on Twitter: @bjessa.