Review – Ben McKenzie is Uncool
Admission: $15 – $18
Venue: The Provincial Hotel
Ben McKenzie has been part of the Australian comedy scene for a decade, yet Ben McKenzie is Uncool is his first solo show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in several years. After being part of so many group efforts, including everything from a Doctor Who podcast to the Dungeons and Dragons-centric Dungeon Crawl (sensing a theme here?), it’s great to see him do a whole solo show in a fun Melbourne venue.
Ben McKenzie is Uncool explores the differences between what mainstream culture considers ‘cool’, and the kinds of pursuits and hobbies that so-called ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’ get in to. It’s great stuff for those of us who grew up playing board games (anything other than Monopoly), playing video games, being picked on for loving books or TV shows, and not really getting how fashion works.
That’s not to say it’s alienating for anyone else – although if you don’t know what a ‘fandom’ is, or if you don’t have a smart phone, you might miss a couple of things. The show itself is kind of a game, too – without giving too much away, it’s a bit of a ‘choose your own adventure’ for the audience. The final message is all about being honest and open about the stuff you love, and not trying too hard to fit in (or to stay obscure, as the case may be).
McKenzie’s timing and demeanour are what make his observational comedy so great. It takes something special to be able to talk about everyday stuff or recount anecdotes of personal awkwardness, whilst turning it into a hilarious bit the whole audience can enjoy. Although there’s not a lot of production value, nothing – including time – is wasted in Ben McKenzie is Uncool; as a cool person might say, it’s all killer, no filler.
Ben McKenzie is Uncool is on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of the Festival.