Nearing the end of the Brisbane Comedy Festival and the iconic Powerhouse is packed to the rafters with the buzz of punters, seating calls and of course, laughter. With almost every nook and cranny set up for a feast of comedy delights we are called in to the Visy Room downstairs to find the line of eager fans snaked through the hallway-down-around-outside-back-through-and up the stairs! Tom Ballard certainly has made a mark on the comedy community and we were about to see why. With a sold out crowd Ballard enters the stage like a rocket ready to take off and sets the tone for what ensues: high energy, side splitting laughter. A heavy basis on the current political situations the world is facing at present and his quote that sums up the audience wide opinion: "It's kind of embarrassing to be a human right now."
Tearing through topics at lightning speed Ballard bombards us with everything from Trump to capitalism, with a little sprinkle of the world's undeniable Islamaphobia to top it off. The main theme of the show is based around the importance of words and a poke at the idea of modern political correctness. Do we need political correctness? Is it a help or a hindrance in contemporary society? Ballard tackles issues that are often hushed with such ferocity and zeal that the audience start with unity of laughter but with every new 'untouchable' topic you find rising groups of thigh slappers adjacent to pockets of sour faces. "I won't stop until I've lost you all Brisbane!" Ballard jokes with the audience as he continues to poke and pick at us with hilarious anecdotes that make you have to choose between your (let's face it, elitest) morals and your devilish need to laugh. It's all in good fun and even the biggest lemon suckers of the crowd are caught out having an inappropriate chuckle, mostly at the expense of themselves after Ballard and the audience call them out. Prudes need not apply and there were definitely a few scattered throughout the seats that looked as though they had quite a shock to the moral bones. The laughs are fast and plentiful and your ideals of political correctness are twisted and turned upside down in less than an hour. Well played Sir, for digging our inner demons out. It's an uncomfortably funny jab at the obvious privilege that anyone sitting in the crowd of a comedy show can possibly deny we all 'suffer' from.
With all of the hard stabs at the tricky topics it was soul affirming to have Ballard take time out to thank the elders and traditional custodians of the land and give his sincere and genuine thoughts on the humbling experiences he has encountered through his recent filming of SBS 'First Contact'. His self confessed 'elitest bubble' gave some food for thought in amongst all the laughs and was refreshing to see that with all the jesting, jibes and jokes this generation is still firm in ideas of social justice. Strict right-wingers had best stay at home unless you want to suck lemons all night...
2017 Brisbane Comedy Festival and Token Events
Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse
Dates: 21 – 26 March, 2017
Tickets: $25 – $35