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Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Marissa Burgess

The latest idea from Set List co-creator Troy Conrad challenges a rotating line-up of comedians to deliver a nonsensical or offensive TED-style educational talk via the autocue. However it's on the blink, leaving the speakers to fill in the Blanks when it suddenly stops. And breaking up the wordiness are some indecipherable graphs for the players to improvise around, too.

We’re getting towards the end of the month-long Fringe run and Conrad lacks energy selling his idea to an already small and quiet crowd, over-explaining with his slightly defensive disclaimer that these are supposed to be failed TED talks, so they're bad ideas, get it? Yes, we get it. It wouldn't be as funny if they were smart ideas.

With a round of applause Conrad transforms into our compere and the oomph he needs arrives. First up is Aussie character comic Felicity Ann, who gamely takes on her character’s project of swapping her patients' organs and body parts around when they hadn't requested it. She succeeds in producing a sufficiently coherent argument; it's not laugh a minute and there are plenty of filler 'ums' but it's amusing.

Brent Weinbach is challenged to present a talk about befriending bears from the viewpoint of a guy whose brother did just that and was promptly eaten by one. A talk featuring bears should be inherently funny (it's got bears in for god's sake) but at times Weinbach looks lost and inexperienced at having to think on the spot. He ends by reeling out the comedy staple of talking about semen, albeit bear semen.

Wendy Wason brings the energy back up with the scientific worth of the Bee Gees. She drifts off on a nonsensically delightful tangent about the Gibb brothers' hair and teeth and ends on a Scientology theory regarding John Travolta. It's all scatty fun.

And rounding off events was the brilliant John Hastings, whose presentation was so slick it was almost as if he could have prepared it. With confidence and conviction the Canadian storms through his talk on North Korea, the Paradise Holiday Trip – Obama as a piece of bread anyone? That's exactly how it should be done. North Korea would do well employing him in their marketing department.

Review date: 23 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

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