“All the Australians in the room put your hands up,” a splattering of us raise our hands, and little do we realise that Dan Willis will heavily rely on us to make up a good proportion of his show, and not in a good-audience-participation kind of way.
The kind of guy you’d like to have a pint with down at your local, but not someone you’d want to have a pint with every night of the week.
The show takes us through Willis’ life and story with Australia, how he’s moved back and forth, married an Aussie and had an Australian-born daughter. So far, so good; Willis is slightly annoying but still quite likeable, he comes across as the kind of guy you’d like to have a pint with down at your local, but not someone you’d want to have a pint with every night of the week.
Wills then starts to crack out the whinging and talking about stereotypes of Australia and Australians. Now, whilst some of these quips and jokes are amusing and quite funny – particularly his piece on Aussie animals and spiders – but most of these jokes feel old and worn. A lot of his comparisons and “whinging” are jokes and stereotypes that have been heard a million times before, and aren’t delivered with enough character from Willis to be made interesting again.
In between whining about the differences in Australian culture, food, music, dating, animals and fighting, Willis weaves a few anecdotal stories that provide a lot of laughs. He would have been better sticking with more personal quips and stories rather than using obviously pre-rehearsed material based on generalisations. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough of these funny aside anecdotes to make the show.
Repeatedly Willis uses the audience to ask questions to those who have either been to Australia or are Australian, attempting to banter with them and work them into his material – unsuccessfully. Whilst the title of the show suggests an obvious Australian theme, the majority of those watching couldn’t understand or ‘get’ a lot of the material as it was so niche, but even the Aussies didn’t find it that funny; resulting in a show that didn’t reach its audience or provide them with the laughs.
Austraila: A Whinging Pom’s Guide certainly has the affect of whinging – the kind of affect where you’d like the person talking to just stop. Willis reminds me of the mate you have who can’t stop talking about his gap yah, and who likes to humble-brag at any opportunity, and whilst some of the stories are entertaining, most of it just gets a bit boring and old.