MICF - Douglas Lim: This Is Nice | Melbourne comedy festival review by Steve Bennett
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MICF - Douglas Lim: This Is Nice

Melbourne comedy festival review by Steve Bennett

Although he’s playing a modest room in Melbourne’s Chinese Museum, Douglas Lim tells us he’s one of the biggest comedians in Malaysia. He certainly has the snazzy threads and expensive designer watch to verify his claim. 

Yet his boastfulness comes, like so much of his material, with a cheeky grin. He seems genuinely happy in Australia, if not a little baffled at the effort this nation has made to ensure he feels at home. That there’s a whole Chinatown denies him the chance to feel exotic. 

His message that Australia is a welcoming country is certainly at odd with some of the racist realities and political rhetoric, but a little flattery never did any audience any harm, and Lim is nothing if not a charmer.

Lim’s positive sentiment towards Australia is informed by the 1MDB financial scandal that has soured any patriotism for Malaysia. With politicians accused of defrauding the people on a massive scale, and trying to silence all questions around it, a palpable disillusionment gives this show a pensive payoff, even if the conclusion comes slightly out of the blue, which a director’s input could have addressed.

The mainstream, accessible material is inconsistent over the hour, but is bound by Lim’s slick, upbeat and offhandedly self-deprecating manner. His takedown of the stereotypes of kung-fu films and melodramatic Hong Kong TV serial is a finely-observed delight, though a scene-by-scene deconstruction of a low-rent film he appeared in becomes over-indulgent. He playfully tickles a few racial stereotypes, but is just as likely to crack a pun, good or bad, a penchant for wordplay that’s quite endearing even when the joke is forced.

After winning attention in the Comedy Zone Asia line-up show last year, Lim has produced an entertaining and easy-going solo Melbourne debut that should prove a solid based for an Aussie career, should he truly get disgruntled with his homeland’s woes.

Review date: 15 Apr 2018
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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