Rhys Nicholson announces his entrance by welcoming us to this ‘sold-out bring an imaginary friend show.’ It's representative of Nicholson’s neurotic combination of self-deprecation and self-inflation, and the audience already loves it. Nicholson is a dapper, Australian cross between Sheldon Cooper and Julian Clary: a latecomer is told ‘don't worry, you haven't missed much, I'm probably gay’.
Nicholson’s comedy has heart as well as dick.
Nicholson professes that ‘This is basically a show about my dick and how it relates to others’. And indeed it is, with stories about coming out about high school, sex shops, fetishes and constant asides about wanting to sleep with the audience. But there is also much in addition. In fact, most of the stand-up’s tirade about sex comes to the conclusion that he is reverently monogamous, and a bit prudish about many of the sensationalist acts he has been discussing. Nicholson’s anecdote about deliberately ruining a ghost tour with his fiancé, for example, goes down particularly well with our audience.
The other major theme of Nicholson’s hour is his struggles with anxiety, and the ways in which that manifests itself in his daily life. His discussion is frank yet always with an element of irony, swerving at breakneck speed between sincerity and ridicule. Often a line will suddenly strike him, and send him spiralling off into a stream of ad libs, all delivered with a manic hysteria which has the audience holding onto every word.
At one point he says, ‘if there are reviewers in tonight, all I will have talked about is wanting to screw the audience behind the bins’. From the laughs in the crowd, it would seem that that suits us just fine. Nicholson’s comedy has heart as well as dick.