Nick Sun: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

Darting between whimsy and pitch black humour, Nick Sun displays his mastery of comedic form while completely disregarding it. This isn\'t unorthodox, zany, or the other miasma of words to dress up the unknown: this just is. It\'s definitely not for everyone, and might not even be for anyone.

Sun opens with a playful bash of his current basement venue,  espousing hatred of Free Fringe trolls determined not to have a good time.

Usually when the front row is empty a comedian will joke about it, instead Sun opts for tossing the vacant chairs away in order to be closer to his audience. It\'s hard to say which is funnier, the gesture or the look of terror on the new front-row faces.

This daunting attitude is evident in some places and absent in others, as Sun is a comic of no fixed address or stage persona. He toys with conventions, sampling the intellectual pseudo-rants of Daniel Kitson one minute and launching into a slam poem the next. This isn\'t a performance it\'s a playground, and even ‘chaotic’ doesn\'t do it justice. It\'s challenging and completely unlike anything else around.

There\'s a clear sense of resentment at the very concept of stand-up comedy and convention from the get-go. Comfort is boring, set lists are lazy, consistency is unoriginal. Unlike the Nick Sun of past years he now stops short of total self-sabotage, reigning in his trademark surrealism and including more first-rate jokes.

The show\'s title implies toiler humour, and while it\'s definitely present this is one set that can\'t be pigeonholed. There\'s jokes on social faux pas, lost youth, Disney films, race, culture, one-night stands, and comedy itself. But these are mere titles which misleadingly imply a certain level of separation, and neglect the wild tangents bumps along the way.

Despite the amorphous nature, the set still houses some world-class bits: with an existential crisis stemming from trying to see what it\'s like to be an audience member, a parody of nationalist immigration logic with animals at the zoo, and an attempt to do conventional observational comedy warping into the most surreal bit of the entire show, being but some of the highlights.

For the uninitiated, this show is a leap of faith. For the initiated, this show is an older more reflective (but still ultimately crazy) Nick Sun. For both, this is a bittersweet mix of enjoyment, uncontrollable laughter, awkwardness, and bewilderment.

Read More

Published: 20 Aug 2012

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