Toby Halligan: Electile Dysfunction

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

In a refreshingly rare choice among modern comedians, newcomer Toby Halligan directs at least some of his wit outwards, to Australian politics and society, rather than inwards on his own life.

When it comes to performance, this 26-year-old is a comic natural; lively, likeable and confident as he zings out barbed observations about the state of the nation and its disappointing leaders. There’s normally some point behind the quips, rather than simply relying on one-dimensional comments about the Canberra elite, while his insight into the humourless bureaucratic world of public service, where he works, is entertainingly enlightening.

Through that gateway we are led into more personal anecdotes about his attention-deficit disorder, coming out as gay and an joyful retelling of a particularly daring scavenger hunt he once went on. This is more familiar stand-up territory, but again the delivery is exemplary.

Halligan’s clearly a versatile writer, able to span the politics to the personal seamlessly; though he is more likely to make his name as a Canberra commentator, given what an under-populated field that is, and how astute an observer he proves himself to be. Nor does he ever bury the comedy beneath polemic or point-scoring; but lets the jokes do the talking.

This is a promising debut from an instinctively appealing comedian.

Reviewed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, April 2011

Review date: 9 Jan 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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