Tom Ballard: Good Point Well Made | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Tom Ballard: Good Point Well Made

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

How long before they start handing out earplugs at Tom Ballard’s gigs? The political comic rants for an hour, with no let-up in his tinnitus-inducing volume. Sea captains would order ‘abandon ship’ more quietly than Ballard ponders ‘what’s the deal with yawning?’

‘I’ll be blasting my correct opinions at volume,’ he jokingly admits at the top of this proudly political show. It’s an effective delivery at first, but the lack of variety becomes wearing, even given his self-awareness. There comes a point when even the most sympathetic audience members might start tuning out from the relentless bludgeoning.

In some attempt to soften the onslaught, Ballard confesses to being a moron who shouldn’t be taken seriously. And while Good Point Well Made is about 90 per cent politics, the moments of everyday embarrassment he uses to prove his haplessness are among the most entertaining.

Visit Melbourne Melbourne International Comedy FestivvalMelbourne International Comedy Festiva news and reviews with Visit VictoriaHowever, they are but diversions from the full-throated onslaught on the political right pounded out by this gay, socialist, Green-voting atheist cyclist – their nemesis on so many points. Identifying as these things might be unremarkable within the liberal bubble of a comedy festival, but what he stands for is apparently hated by the majority of Australians. Those  prejudices were sadly confirmed by the surprisingly overwhelming ‘no’ vote to last year’s referendum on giving Aboriginal people a stronger voice in parliament.

This is a howl of outrage at how that could have come to be, and Ballard is powerfully savage towards his opponents. He’s never subtle, but instead unleashes a relentless barrage of scorn, with absolute force. 

Some of his clapbacks made are similar to those made in shock at the Brexit vote eight years ago, and it’s unfortunate that his raising of another, non-political, division in society that each side were previously oblivious to has also recently been discussed by British comic Jason Manford.

But Ballard’s fury is expressed in brutal and funny putdowns. Outraged incredulity greets all manner of news stories, such as taking an amusing American embassy tweet out of context, yet another thing that boils his piss.

His descriptions are often vivid, the insults witty and from the heart, but his dire warnings end up being like a car alarm: initially useful, then annoying, then eventually tuned out as just background noise. Which is the worst fate for a message that’s important as the one which underpins Ballard’s show.

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Review date: 16 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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