Australian comedian John Robertson has become a well-known Fringe regular with his hit interactive gameshow,
For the most part, Robertson’s routine is hilarious, affecting and powerful.
Robertson has suffered personally from these – his father committed suicide when he was 10, and his best friend killed himself just a year ago. As such, this show feels like his way of dealing with these traumatic losses, using black comedy to provide a kind of catharsis.
Somehow, despite the dark themes, Robertson’s comedy is consistently uproariously funny. His relentless energy, combined with his uncanny ability to accurately read the mood of his audience, means that jokes very rarely fall flat, though some are met with roars of outrage, as well as laughter. Because the routine is so clearly cathartic for Robertson, the audience is on his side from beginning to end.
He combines his dark observations about death and suicide with more conventional gross-out comedy, including some filthy jokes about sex and excrement. Whilst these are generally funny, they are less original than his darker material, and as such are weaker. In particular, some cheap jokes about redneck incest could easily be left out.
However, these weaker jokes are few and far between. For the most part, Robertson’s routine is hilarious, affecting and powerful. Whilst the jokes might be too oppressively intense if delivered by another comedian, Robertson’s energy and passion keeps the audience laughing throughout.