John Hastings: Do You Have Any Ointment My John Hastings | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
review star review star review star review star review blank star

John Hastings: Do You Have Any Ointment My John Hastings

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

It’s fair to say that, in his own words, John Hastings has had a ‘dog’s dick’ of a year. He’s been divorced, sustained painful injuries in a bicycle crash that could have killed him, grieved the death of his close friend, the comedy director Paul Byrne. And he shat himself.

No surprises for guessing which one of those headlines opened the globetrotting Canadian comic’s powerhouse return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

From this bathroom misjudgment to having to give a heartfelt eulogy with no preparation, via sex education, drunkenness, his relationship with his father, or hanging out at a skate park, this is an hour packed with content. Yet Hastings doesn’t sacrifice jokes for narrative, nor remain so firmly welded to his script he can’t dash off asides or indulge in crowd work.

In fact, he needed those well-honed improvisational talents tonight, as a couple of well-lubricated bros looked disruptive from the start, yelling out even during the prerecorded messages that acknowledges the Aboriginal custodians of the land on which the venue stands. But he skilfully shut them down without making them feel like idiots, keeping the show on track. and everybody happy.

His quick-witted assuredness and formidable stage presence ensure Hastings is always the alpha in the room, whatever he may say about his personality in real life. His impactful delivery is always on point, and his story littered with casual gags, most often at his own expense.

‘I *look* divorced,’ he says as he introduces that strand, and it would be hard to disagree, given his careworn demeanour.    But if he’s had tough life experiences, they are the enriched uranium for his comedy reactor.

The anecdotes are compelling, while Hastings’ eye for the absurd detail gives a comic twist to make them stray from the expected path. And while he doesn’t dwell, lest it constrict the flow of punchlines, he does confront insecurities such as what the failure of his marriage says about him.

Whether or not you appreciate the wilful awfulness of the contrived title, this is comic storytelling stand-up at its most muscular: punchy, funny and fast-moving.

• John Hastings: Do You Have Any Ointment My John Hastings is on at Melbourne Town Hall at 10.45pm on April 15,16, 22 and 23, plus 9.10pm on Monday 18.

Review date: 12 Apr 2022
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.