Where's My Pony? | Greg Fleet

Where's My Pony? | Greg FleetComedy, says Greg Fleet, is tragedy plus time. It’s a point he makes after purposefully making the audience groan with a joke that’s ‘too soon’. Next year he says it will get big laughs. Fleet has been a regular at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for 21 years, so he should know.

Fleet is no stranger to tragedy either. When he was 10, his father faked his own death only to reappear later in his life. His father had changed names, remarried and fathered a child during this absence. Fleet has also fought a long and public battle with his addiction to heroin. He draws upon these experiences frequently in his shows and mines them for comedy gold.

For example, in his latest stand-up show, Where’s My Pony, Fleet shares stories from his experience in a rehab facility a couple of years ago. He describes the people, the pecking order and the politics in a self-deprecating way that somehow also manages to sound familiar.

It’s a chaotic and rambling show and that doesn’t matter because Fleet is clearly comfortable with his audience and it’s impossible not to find him endearing. Those who know him from his regular appearances on Triple M’s Get This will recall with delight his infectious laugh and unpredictable wit. Both are on display here in ample quantities.

There’s a fair amount of audience participation built into the show, though not in any formal way. Greg just encourages people to yell out when they have something relevant to add or funny to say and promises not to humiliate anyone for speaking up. “If I did that”, he points out, “no-one would come to my next show”. On the other hand, he promises any would-be hecklers that he will destroy them.

It’s this playful two-faced patter and capricious behaviour that give Greg Fleet his charm. Sincere one moment and obnoxious the next, you know when he’s gearing up for a punchline but you’re never quite sure what it will be or where it will come from.

Fleet is at his best with a crowd that’s energised and into the game, but unfortunately this audience was fairly tepid and took a while to get going. This wasn’t helped by the surprise addition of younger stand-up comedian Harley Breen as a warmup act, who seemed somewhat uncomfortable and out of place.

The warmup spot is always a tough gig and to be fair Breen did get some good laughs once he settled into his routine, but bringing him out after the main act had already been on stage to introduce himself broke the flow and the audience weren’t sure what to expect, which seemed to dampen some of their enthusiasm to participate.

As a result, Fleet got through his main material earlier than expected and had to pad a little. He made no attempt to disguise this and nobody minded; again, this disorganised nature is part of his charisma. In the end he brought the whole thing home with a story about the best things anyone has ever said to him. It earned him huge applause and tied in nicely with the rest of the show.

Greg Fleet loves his audience and loves the little things about being Australian. He gives a dog-eared performance with an act that’s like a well-chewed old shoe. That’s the way he likes it, and that’s why we love him. It’s great comedy and the only tragedy would be to miss it.

Presented by Tim Woods in association with Andrew Taylor
Greg Fleet
Where’s My Pony?

Venue: Roxanne (2 Coverlid Place off Little Bourke St)
Dates: 2 - 26 April (not Mondays), Previews 2 & 3 April
Tickets: Adult $32. Concession Group & Laugh Pack $28 (N/A SAT) Previews $22
Times: 8.30pm Tue - Sat, 7.30pm Sun
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 & comedyfestival.com.au

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