Smackweasel: A Memoir | Ben PobjieAs readers of his TV column or other writings will know, Ben Pobjie is a very smart guy with a razor sharp perception and cutting turn of phrase.

He manages to comment on all aspects of modern life, culture and society through this loose "memoir" supposedly scripting his childhood and career.

There are moments of ridiculous satire, as he regales the small but perfectly formed audience of the "Eight-hour monologue he performed to his parents every day for months", called Laughter: The Harbinger of Death.

There are tales from his university years, studying Mediaeval French with a minor in Circumcision.

Then there are his ever-more-ridiculous quests for finding fame: "No-one ever changed the world by not being famous".

Silly juxtaposing is his major tool in trade, opening with a safe-sounding platitude then slamming his punchline home with some surprise violent imagery or shock cynical twist.

But after a while the surprise style doesn't shock as much and the cleverness starts to sounds a tad arrogant and slightly self indulgent. There is limited engagement with the audience, not even any points where applause is sought – not that the audience was unwilling, but somehow it seemed an interruption, with Pobjie continuing in admirably confident style.

Having said that, there is no end to Pobjie's inventiveness, and if the show was a movie, some lines would become cult classics ("You believe in love like a peacock believes in Taoism" & "love is the man with the blood-filled syringe demanding we open the tills of our heart").

The more physical sections of the otherwise hour-long monologue – his breaks into folk song, beat poetry and interpretive dance – are not only extremely funny, brilliantly performed, but are welcome breaks in style that raise some real guffaws.

Folk who love words will love Pobjie's show and will revel in his endless silly similes. But this is not a show for the faint-hearted out for an easy laugh.

Says suitable for 13+ but few under 18 would get it. 

Not wheelchair accessible.

2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Smackweasel: A Memoir
Ben Pobjie

Venue: Bar Open | 317 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Dates: 8 – 19 April 2015
Tickets: $20 – $15
Bookings: 1300 660 013

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