The Good People of Planet Earth

Andy Muirhead is well known as the host of the Collectors on ABCTV and Hobart Breakfast ABC Radio. 

State Library of Victoria

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Saturday, April 3, 2010.

Good PeopleAndy Muirhead is well known as the host of the Collectors on ABCTV and Hobart Breakfast ABC Radio. 

Way back he started out as a Biologist who began a side line in stand up in Raw Comedy in 2002 and spread his wings doing gigs in Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane. This is his second Melbourne Comedy Festival at the State Library and he seems to like the venue – it’s not bad afterall, comfy seats, circulating air and sober clients!

He’s a lovely lad and it feels so wrong that 2009 was such a nasty year for Andy – his girlfriend dumped him on Christmas Eve (what a bitch!) and his Scottish grandmother died (she did a rather memorable rainbow trifle thing). 

He launches the show with one of Dickens’ finest but not likely to twitch the funny switch: “ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…yeah but no.”  Props are bare and in evidence only if you call chocolate Easter bunnies in foil – later to become prizes – props.  The lighting never varies from auditorium-bright and the sound is clear.  With the exception of a little, gentle audience participation it’s just young Andy and the microphone. 

His grandmother’s death gives rise to some humourous ancedotes about the Scot’s aversion to culinary creativity and the Scottish temperament.  Vis a vis, after a few hours in a Scottish pub Andy emerges with a stereotypically contagious “thick Scottish accent, unknown fungus and hatred of humanity.”  However that theme is introduced by a half cheery: “So who’s had a recent death in the family?”  Um? The night I attended the majority of 40-plus audience visibly sucked in air and flipped straight back into the last family funeral they were at and no one appeared ready with a chuckle.  Still we rose to the occasion, shed black and rollicked a bit.

We’re taken on an entertaining  monologue tour of the stuffed Sam the Koala, unusual animal facts (“Penguins don’t have nipples”), the GP, hoons, cars (“Melbourne’s the only place where even the big wheel is up on blocks”) and Melbourne bar scene (“You can never find them and they all have one word names like Fud, Slod.  I’m going to open up a bar called Dressing Gown”).

The broken relationship material recreates the glorious – how to get the best sex from dressing up as a fireman – and mainly inglorious moments with the girl.  And yes, we were all on his side but because he’s so nice he didn’t mine it for some of the funnier material we all find when a relationship is over and we want be comic and vicious (OK, some us want to be comic and well, a tad vicious; alright, alright, bloody vicious!). 

What Andy gives is some lovely storytelling, but there are no uproarious moments.  It is humorous in parts and in parts it warms the cockles of the heart, which is nice, really.  But after a long, hard week I wanted to laugh myself silly-sick and I didn’t and in the end I just worried about young Andy and if he’ll be alright – something that mothers do about their kids rather than patrons do about clever stand up comics.

Season closed.

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