Justin Hamilton: Idiot Man Child

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s ironic, given the underlying theme of this show, but the word that best describes Justin Hamilton is ‘professional’. In smart suit, he cuts supremely poised figure, backed up with a slick and well-constructed show, delivered with personable confidence and skilful timing that guarantees the laughs.

Yet while he is the consummate comedy pro, Idiot Man Child is about how sensible and settled all his friends have become. Fast approaching 40, they’ve swapped juvenile pranks and prodigious drug-taking for conversations about the price of bathroom tiles.

The message of lost hedonism, fairly common among festival shows, thus gives Hamilton excuse to recount tales of bygone hi-jinks, demonstrating formidable storytelling skills, as well as pouring scorn on erstwhile friends and their button-down lives, despite his new maxim of not hating anyone. This is observational comedy every middle-class person will relate to, with an added sense of narrative.

And, my, doesn’t he do it well. Always engaging, slightly playful and undeniably in control of the audience, Hamo certainly knows how to spin a yarn. So while the attitude might not be all that distinctive, there’s no faulting the way he gets his polished material across. He’s the sort of comic that’s so accessible to the mainstream that you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to a stand-up virgin, while still possessing enough charisma and craftsmanship to appeal to the comedy cognoscenti, too.

While looking sensible, Hamilton’s job means he’s still allowed, encouraged even, to act the fool. So when he found himself disillusioned with the radio career that seems to be every half-decent Australian comedian’s fate, rather than quit he invented a deliberately offensive advertising campaign for a fictional, but all-too believable, nightclub from hell. The increasingly distasteful commercials provide yet another running strand to this neatly-constructed show from a firm festival favourite. And he deserves that status for – as this year’s offering yet again proves – you can’t go too far wrong with Justin Hamilton.

Review date: 19 Apr 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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