Luke Heggie: Mega Dry | Review by Steve Bennett

Luke Heggie: Mega Dry

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

Pretty much everyone’s had to do it at one point or another:take a dead-end retail job that involves slapping on a veneer of professional politeness each day, no matter how irritating the customers.

But for former bottle-shop assistant Luke Heggie, selling booze to alcoholics, losers and tiresome ‘wits’ with their tired pat lines certainly took its toll. Months of irritation have gone into Mega Dry, in which he rails against his idiot clientele with an authentic, intense bitterness.

Heggie insists – and you believe him – that he was a perfectly reasonable bloke until his job turned him in to a ‘spiteful little vandal’. His comedy is forged from frustration not anger, although it eventually ends up that way. If hell is other people, Heggie was the professional greeter at the gates of the netherworld.

He may have become a misanthropist, but the festering resentment is good for his comedy. The tirade is relentless, against old people, bucks’ parties, bourbon-drinking yahoos – and, adding an hilarious note of pedantry – crimes against grammar.

Yet we don’t think him cruel for berating the customers; we’ve all been there and feel the pain of an everyman wanting a straightforward life that eludes him. Sometimes he seems like the jerk for bristling against customers just employing some conversational lube to tr to lighten the day... but you understand absolutely why he gets so vexed.

His eye for detail means the routines aren’t bland rants against, say, bogan ‘culture’, but more nuanced character assassinations. Plus he has a great turn of phrase; his brutally vivid description of an unfortunate booze-hound’s prominent head cyst is unforgettable... unfortunately. And that’s just one example.

There is a good line in puns, too, largely attributed to the forced bonhomie of store regular Brian, though it would come as no surprise to find he was a figment of Heggie’s imagination. But if he’s putting distance between himself and the gags, he needn’t – as ‘dad jokes’ go, these are remarkably funny.

This is a dense, passionate, and funny hour, ideal for anyone who’s ever worked in a shop. Or been in one.

Review date: 9 Apr 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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