I don't really know what possessed me to include this show in my Australian Stage Fringe Festival wish-list. I had never heard of Simon Taylor. I was pretty sure I had never seen him as part of any comedy gala or debate. I guess I was going on my vibe thing. Certainly the one-line reviews used in the publicity were supportive, but aren't they always? And while you can roll the dice, take a chance on the unknown and sometimes be pleasantly rewarded, you can also find yourself spending an hour of your life thinking over and over again that this is an hour of my life that I'm never going to get back.
On this occasion I'm happy to say that my vibe thing kicked arse. Simon Taylor – touted in the press as a rising star and a comedian to watch – is indeed, as his show's title would imply, funny.
In a nutshell, Taylor takes to the stage in a very relaxed manner and – armed with nothing but a microphone and bathed in spotlight – just starts talking. While other comedians have clearly laboured over the title and theme of their show, he has simply called his Funny. And while other comedians refine their delivery, buff and polish their quirks, try until they sweat blood to perfect their shtick, Mr Taylor just gets on with being funny. He has no shtick, except for noticing funny stuff about humans, then relating his observations to his audience in a funny way. It's a simple recipe and one which he appeared to be tweaking on this preview night, recording the night on his phone and making voice notes based on the audience reaction to some of his stories. This in itself became a source of amusement.
The show starts with his appreciation of the economy of syllables in speech, a skill that Australians are especially good at, as he hilariously demonstrates. Also excellent is his bell curve of Australian accents from bogan to toff. (Or Graigieburn to Adelaide).
There are also observations about our airlines (I don't think Tiger will be taking him on as their promo guru any time soon but, hell, he nails it); his gig at Craigieburn Library; reality TV and rich guy cum political wacko Clive Palmer; and of course, personal relationships.
His story about his adventure with a love interest, an adversary and the night he wore a lion onesie and smoked a spliff for the first time is, well, funny.
Simon Taylor comes across as the kind of friendly comedian who would never draw heckling, although the occasional audience interaction on the night would indicate that he would be amply quick-witted enough to put hecklers in their place. Basically he's just a nice guy who knows how to tell a funny story and sees the world around us for the rich comedy mine that it is.
After thanking my vibe thing for directing me in the right direction, I have read about the very funny Simon Taylor, Melbourne native, part-time LA resident and writer for Jay Lenno.
Impressive... and funny.
Oh – and The Dreaded One's post-show opinion? “He's really funny and has such expressive fingers.”
2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival
Written and Performed by Simon Taylor
Venue: The Imperial Hotel | cnr Bourke and Spring St, Melbourne
Dates: Sept 18 – Oct 6, 2013
Tickets: $18.00 – $15.00