Comedy review: Justin Hamilton’s ‘Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994’ – 24/03/14
Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994 sees Hamilton go through something of a midlife crisis as a comedian, and a hilarious one at that.A soundtrack every middle-aged man can identify with – featuring Cold Chisel and Cream – plays overhead before the gig begins, and when he gets out on stage, “Hammo” launches into a multitude of pearls of wisdom that can only come with age.Taking stock of what he’s good at; the revelation he’d make a terrible dad; his desires to do something different with his career – it all gets a mention over the one-hour show, and the declaration written in wet cement that the show takes its title from earns one of Hamilton’s more cutting philosophical observations:“Love doesn’t last forever, it lasts 2 years tops. Then you just think ‘F*ck it. we may as well stay together for the rest of our lives,’” he quips to the all-too-loud laughter of the mainly middle-aged audience in the room.The self-described “Little hobo with less fleas and more haha” talks about a wide range of subject matter during his show, including his attempts to use a hot pie to save a girl from being assaulted, pro-abortion debates at dinner parties, and the unbelievable joy he experienced after surviving a suspected suicide bombing while on tour in Afghanistan.While these moments don’t always amount to the side-splitting laughs you’d come to expect at a comedy show, they are undeniably entertaining as you feel yourself understanding Hamilton on a much more personal level.Instead, to ensure the laughs quota is fulfilled, Hamilton frequently interjects his stories with punchy well-delivered one-liners, chief among them, “I’m not a glass half full or a glass half empty person. I’m more of a person who halfway through drinking a glass of water wonders if anyone’s dipped their balls in it.”At the end of the day, Justin Hamilton is one of those comedians that makes you realise comedy can be a valid profession.The fact he can seamlessly link such diverse subject matter into one cohesive, entertaining show is something that helps you appreciate what good stand-up really is, and is one of the reasons his performance is one you shouldn’t miss if you’re considering going to the Comedy festival. Review by Alexander Darling Justin Hamilton’s Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994 runs until 19 April at The Toff in Town as part of the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.