SYN Nation

MICF Review – Urzila Carlson: Poise Control


Greek Centre – The Parthenon, 168 Lonsdale St

Tue-Sat 8.15pm, Sun 7.15pm (60 mins)

Now showing as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 19


Urzila Carlson is refreshing. Maybe it’s her wonderful South African/New Zealand accent, maybe it’s the way she laughs with the crowd without seeming self-indulgent, maybe it’s her unflinching honesty – or all of these things. Her material isn’t comedy gold, but she makes you laugh consistently enough to ensure an enjoyable night out.

Her show, she says, runs on the theme of “how to deal with arseholes.” However, it’s less about coping with arseholes than instructing everyone to be an arsehole themselves. Carlson informs us we’re all angry from drinking bad coffee, and should therefore start sending our coffees back (never mind the impact on the barista, who would no doubt themselves become perpetually angry). She tells us we’re all too nice, and we should start telling people what we think: we should all, in other words, be more honest. “We’re all too politically correct,” she says.

Excessive politeness and excessive political correctness isn’t really the same thing, and thankfully Carlson focuses her attention more on the former than the latter. It’s hard to imagine her show seriously offending anyone (who goes out to a comedy show, that is). That said, my personal favourite was when she was seriously making fun of a vegan in the front row. I don’t have anything against vegans, but suggesting he lie down on the floor if he gets tired was hilarious.

There are some crude jokes, particularly at the end when Carlson seemed to be filling time and briefly talked about her partner’s grandfather’s farting, but overall she brings everyday experiences to the table with a good sense of timing and regular punch lines. If you’re not sure who to see, Carlson is a solid choice for traditional stand up – though you better get in quick. Her show seems pretty popular, and the interest is only likely to increase as the festival goes on and word gets out.

-Alice Walker


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