Venue: Gilded Balloon
Towards the end of Alex Williamson’s set, after another well-received line related to paedophilia, incest or Rolf Harris (one of three easy-pick categories for the comedian), he says, “Ah, we’ve got some real sick cunts in tonight, haven’t we”, to rapacious laughter. While it’s true that to enjoy his show, you do have to be as relaxed as the self-named Loosest Aussie Bloke Ever, his shock tactics don’t exactly require a sick sense of humour. In reality, most of the time they’re more like the kind of half-funny, half-idiotic things anyone who reads the LAD bible like a real book of worship might come out with. The only real difference is, he’s got a few more friends.
With over 500,000 subscribers on Youtube and a number of sold out shows, there’s no doubt that he’s doing well for himself. His best videos of football commentary which make the lambasted pundit Andy Gray look like a modern-day Suffragette, contain character-assassin one-liners crammed full of offense and are surprisingly… good. Wearing that full-toothed grin of his that suggests he has to be on something before he goes on stage: he pulls out a particularly good joke involving the positive reaction to his videos which have given him new freedoms. If he wanted to, he claims he could lean out of the window of his car and heckle a mother, shouting something like: “christ, that’s an ugly baby”. Naturally the initial reaction might not be too amicable, but after the pang of recognition, she would be likely to shout “Oh it’s you! Thanks mate, you’re right, he is an ugly bastard isn’t he?” While that might not read as especially hilarious, the comedian’s delivery and Australian accent improve it no end. It is true that if a Brit with similarly barbed humour took to the stage, they’d most likely meet a large amount of stone-faced resistance, but because he has the novelty of being from the nation that brought Gary the goat to the internet the man can’t put a foot wrong.
Unfortunately, he exhausts this appeal all too often, with jokes taking the most predictable route available to an easy-laugh. His performance benefits from a series of musical sabbaticals during which he picks up the guitar and sings a song, in one case glorifying his own apparatus (if that’s not lad humour, I don’t know what is): but it is only a benefit in the sense that for 3 minutes you get a tuneful break from repetitive jokes. That said, a neat slideshow skit towards the end returns the comic to his reliable videos and reminds everyone that the Bogan Aussie used to be a history teacher. Just when you think he might say something serious (and that would be the real shock) about a picture of the WW1 footballers, he comes out with a ridiculous line that raked in the laughs; if they’d only had MDMA on hand at that point, it would have been the end of the war. No more fighting, just a week long rave.
At all times, absurd and acerbic, the Aussie does just what is expected of him, and the audience who ask for it are unsurprisingly content. When he takes his humour beyond the mundane Alex Williamson reveals potential to become more than just that guy from the internet, but as it stands he leans far too heavily on the same formula.