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Wil Anderson: Wilosophy - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

No topics are out of bound, states Wil Anderson’s blurb. It should perhaps contain the caveat that these will mainly be Australian topics.

Anderson is a hugely popular Aussie comedian who is a likable and enthusiastic but an underwhelming act to a nonantipodean. The majority of his material relates to his home country or the Aussie view of the world, but he has failed in making stretches of this material accessible to the other nationalities in the crowd.

Yes, we will get jokes about shark attacks and Steve Irwin but there are occasions where he won’t explain an Australian term or reference and it takes a while to catch up with the joke. This was probably not helped by the 40 or so strong antipodean element in the front row which Anderson directed most of the material to. It never feels nice to be the outsider on a private joke, especially when you eventually work out that the joke wasn’t really worth hearing in the first place.

There are some interesting nuggets nestled among the more mundane. The global economic crisis is put firmly into perspective with a life expectancy comparison between the West and the Third World. It may sound like its been done before but Anderson’s keen eye for fairness and his more sophisticated approach to this topic led to some accomplished and clever comedy.

He can produce the silly too; describing in great detail what his last meal would be should he ever be faced with the electric chair. This was a beautifully visual and delightfully absurd piece of writing and won him a well deserved applause break.

Another stand-out section was the explanation of why Californian homosexuals all took a sick day on the same day. Sadly this was followed by some very familiar material about intelligent design not being very intelligent. I have seen these exact same jokes done to death on the circuit. Yes an eye isn’t intelligent if it needs glasses, yes, the male G Spot is up the arse. This is not new, thought-provoking and, most importantly, just not funny.

It will be interesting to see what Anderson returns with if he comes back next year. He doesn’t seem to have settled on a style of writing or delivery as yet, although the peaks and troughs in this show will hopefully be an indicator as to which way he should progress. If he can become less local and more global and delve into the deeper side of the pool then his stardom may also rise over the UK.

Review date: 22 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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