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Sweet Coffee Showcase
Steve Hughes: Wake Up!
Following the success of last year's Edinburgh show At War With Satan, Australian heavy metal stand up, Steve Hughes returns to the Festival with his brand new show Wake Up!, another hour of hard-hitting stand-up comedy.
Steve Hughes is clearly a clever guy - or at least that is the onstage image that he projects of himself. But this is not immediately obvious as alongside the thoughtful, the show also has a distinct puerile strand – and the two do not always sit well with each other.
Hughes begins in nondescript fashion, describing cruder, sex-based topics as well as a more personal anecdote regarding the violent robbery of his flat. At this point, he is often challenging the audience to either laugh or be offended, rarely leaving anyone indifferent. His language and imagery are explicit, and he even comments upon the slightly uncomfortable politics of one joke, mimicking the audience by sarcastically asking: “Is it okay to laugh at that one?”
This portion of the show is effective, if slightly bland considering that this style of comedy has been performed countless times before, and he comes across as boisterous and completely self-satisfied – almost to the deliberate point of unpleasantness.
But around the half-hour mark, Hughes abruptly switches gears and moves toward a more philosophical level. This second half displays a more intellectual side to Hughes’ personality, combining some well argued political points with more seemingly drug induced meditations upon the nature of humanity.
Occasionally he spouts an intentionally overly confusing and long-winded remark in order to get a laugh playing off the audience’s expectations, which is counterproductive. However, more often, he will actually make a valid and eloquently argued point. The main problem with this part of the show is that more time is spent understanding the ideas than laughing.
Although the two distinct portions of this show are too diverse for Hughes to unite, it is a respectable effort. If it could be executed with more success Hughes will have marked out an interesting comedy territory for himself.
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