The signs were all good. The Melbourne Comedy Fest vibe was as amped as ever. The Hi Fi Bar was full to capacity. Expectations were high for the internationally recognised British comedian to deliver a world class performance.
Foot has been compared to Russell Brand, whose physical and verbal flamboyance does, upon reflection, resemble Foot's (though it's not something I would have picked up on without reading about it). However his opening section about a cheddar collection and a train wreck caused by a large cucumber reminded me of early Monty Python's more surreal sketches.
And for me, both Brand and Monty Python are far, far funnier.
Foot's delivery is odd to the point of being distracting. His tactic seems to be to ramp up the twitchiness when approaching a section that will struggle to get laughs on its own. It's a ploy that seems to work, although I can't help wondering if I was the only one in the room thinking what on Earth is he doing?
It's an uneven, rambling set of mostly disjointed stories that occasionally have you also wondering what on Earth he is actually saying. Who needs a story when you can pluck words at random and simply blurt them out chaotically? Which is what he did at one point for just long enough to get away with it.
Paul Foot's shows have had rave reviews at some of the biggest comedy festivals the world over, and he has had a devoted fan club of 'connoisseurs' for years, for whom he puts on secret shows. However he has had audience members walk out mid-show as well. Clearly his weird delivery and surreal content is not for everyone, and given that he was getting the laughs on this night, I have to accept that I had come along to the wrong show for me. I did laugh, just not very often. I didn't walk out but might have considered it if the show was much longer. My plus one, The Dreaded One (so called for her brightly coloured dreadlocks) seemed to enjoy the show more than I did, so who knows? If you're already a fan (or if you're not but are curious) go along because you might think it's the funniest show ever. For me it was just a bit meh.
Kenny Larch is Dead
Venue: The Hi-Fi | 125 Swanston St (opp Town Hall), Melbourne
Dates: 28 Mar – 21 Apr, 2013
Tickets: $26 – $35
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013
Part of the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival