Ben Kochan is moonlighting from his job as a tennis coach to perform at the MICF 2021. He comes across as a very sweet, slightly nerdy kinda guy whose shtick is a suitcase full of props and some rather good musical jingles.
Being silly is his strong suit, and his clean-living, almost naïve approach is quite endearing and comical – but accentuates the lack of polish and professionalism. And makes it feel jarring when he suddenly breaks out in uncharacteristic crudity.
To be fair, it’s only two years since Kochan performed (and sold out) his first solo show “Nice Boy Seeks Kind Audience” at the 2019 Sydney Comedy Festival, and 2020 was obviously a write-off, so he’s still building his style and routine.
He has a good eye for silly and awkward situations but his fluency and timing are occasionally a bit off. And while he’s genuinely funny at times and a good storyteller when he’s on a roll, Kochan undermines the mood every time he assesses how well the audience has reacted to each joke. It can raise a few laughs if done occasionally but to rely on it too much gets tiresome and unhelpful.
Apart from being repetitive, each time he stands back and comments he becomes an observer rather than staying immersed in the moment and bringing the audience with him.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what is affected nerves and lack of confidence for the routine and what is real.
At one point Kochan wins some big laughs and his almost jumps for joy: “I’m so lame,” he says. “I really shouldn’t get so excited.”
It’s a moment of clarity and possibly a regular line in his show – after all, he analyses every other bit of feedback he gets – but it’s at the heart of why he’s not getting more laughs.
Which is a shame because the guy’s got potential – he just needs to relax a little.
A Token Event
I’m Done It
Venue: Trades Hall | 54 Victoria St, Carlton VIC
Dates: 4 – 18 April 2021
Tickets: $20 – $25