Guy Montgomery: Over 50,000,000 Guy Fans Can't Be Wrong | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
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Guy Montgomery: Over 50,000,000 Guy Fans Can't Be Wrong

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Last year, Guy Montgomery was playing to around 80 people at a time; this year, his nightly audience tops 1,000.  

His ‘overnight’ success, more than ten years in the making and boosted by regular appearances on Have You Been Paying Attention?, and stint on Taskmaster NZ, inevitably shifts the dynamic a little. No longer the underground comic, a secret to be shared only by those in the know, he has to work a little harder to get everyone on board with the quirkier observations while still retaining the boyish naivety that’s key to his distinctive persona.

He is a comic who can say ‘holy moly!’ and it seem entirely in character rather than an affectation. Constantly surprised by the way the world works, he believes everyday oddities to be mind-blowing delights rather than baffling.

Visit Melbourne Melbourne International Comedy FestivvalMelbourne International Comedy Festiva news and reviews with Visit VictoriaThat faux-innocence is reinforced by a pleasing tendency to use slightly inaccurate language, such as calling sports strips ‘uniforms’. And when Montgomery says something like: ‘I love pussy’, it’s as if it’s a phrase he’s heard the bigger boys say and wants to mimic, entirely unconvincingly. 

Similarly, the low-status Kiwi can lean into the corniness of a deliberately naff line, pleased with himself for his cleverness. He’s a smart man pretending to be a dumb man who thinks he’s a smart man. He believes his peculiarities are universal, and the things everybody does are peculiar.

This liminal space is fertile, giving him a distinctive perspective and meaning he can both use old tropes such as ‘the difference between men and women’ and subvert them, occasionally with an anti-comedy approach where the joke is that there is no joke. 

Meanwhile, his peculiar cadence, slow yet clipped, adds to the impression of a man lost in his own world. Very little that’s truly personal permeates this material, perhaps to avoid shattering the slightly absurd artifice that he’s developed over the years.

His Peter Pan-like persona, never growing up, is ultimately optimistic, taking delight in the unusual both in himself and the wider world – an endearing trait that he backs with uniquely off-the-wall gags.

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Review date: 19 Apr 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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