Greg Larsen: Revolting | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Greg Larsen: Revolting

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

You can live vicariously through Greg Larsen’s tales of youthful recklessness, but he’d probably rather you didn’t. 

Because for all the indignities the comic heaped upon himself in the past, Revolting is a twisted clarion call to seize the day, stop posting on social media, and go and have some goddam real experiences – so you will have some crazy stories to tell, just as he does.

And my, are they cracking tales, focussed largely on the time he was in a dreadful anarcho-political punk bank called the Feminazis – a backlash to the far-right government of Queensland at the time – and the time he worked in the sex industry, albeit as support staff. 

They are extreme tales, often grubby, but they are visceral and real, and the unapologetic Larsen celebrates that fact with a passion that’s contagious and an honesty that’s as hilarious as it is raw.

After a sordid opening video – lapped up enthusiastically, possibly over-enthusiastically, by the excitable audience – Larsen sets up how the internet killed magic, and TikTok  has killed art. Now it’s all ‘content’ where originality is punished and everything is recycled… and he’s not just saying that because his own efforts to make TikTok videos ended in disaster. He is a powerhouse performer and delivers this set-up eloquently and with a fervour (and dick jokes) that compels.

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Don’t think his pre-internet youth was some sort of utopia, though. Growing up in Ipswich, just outside Brisbane, seemed pretty bleak, especially for a goth like him, and he has plenty of robust gags about those days, all delivered with cathartic force.

He takes a twisted pride in how awful it was and how dreadful the punk band were, playing terrible ‘songs’ at terrible gigs. It’s not self-deprecating, though, but a glorification of any effort to break out from convention and expectation, however ill-judged the efforts look in the rear-view mirror. 

He takes sex and drugs and rock and roll and removes the coolness from them all. But he still got the sex and drugs and rock and roll. This is the comedy of laughing at dorky old school photos, but supercharged and given a celebratory spin. And the effect is giddying.

In the second part of the show, Larsen turns to a job he took on a porn website, driven both by his ‘why not?’ nihilism and the fact he’d lose his dole if he didn’t at least try to find work. As expected, some of the tales here are again gross – but never entirely gratuitous since it’s in the service of such a good, outrageous yarn.

The anarchic spirit that led him to don a bikini and yell lyrics about universal health care is still alive in him but now channelled into a wild stand-up show that finds hard, plentiful laughs in the messy chaos of his past life. What a joy.

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Review date: 3 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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