Words by: Jonathon Denholm
Sketch comedy doesn’t have much of a lineage in Perth. Apart from a few shows that come to Fringe each year, the Perth comedy scene is dominated by stand-up. So I was interested to see what local comedy troupe Oh the Humanity would put on at Todd Asked Me Out. The answer is: an extremely weird, very funny night.
The M.C.’s made it clear from the start that we’d be seeing experimental comedy. They weren’t lying. OTH and the other performers seemed to pull their influences from all over the place. A couple of sketches could’ve been written by Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore—the opening sketch of the night was a high school graduation speech that ate itself, as local comedian Manfred Yon got lost in a maze of definitions.
At the other end of the spectrum was literally the strangest one man show I have ever seen. Entitled “Ripped in the Spring”, it seemed to be a play about Australian masculinity and “getting swole”. I was baffled and delighted to see a man in his underwear pour baby oil on himself as the Australian anthem played. Completely absurd, the sketch nailed the style of an off-off-off-Broadway play.
Another highlight was local poets Vidya Rajan and Alyce Wilson performing the “Women’s Shopping Network”. Two seemingly deranged women demonstrated how, with just the ingredients in their kitchen, they could transform a dateless fem into a knockout who is “single and ready to mangle”. It was funny, but it had teeth as well, as the pair took a shot at feminine beauty standards.
There were a few tech issues, which might have arisen from it being OTH’s first “Todd” show. But the impressive thing about the night was how much variety there was, and how many of the acts worked. There was a hilarious short film by Geoffrey Power-King, set to Prince’s “Most Beautiful Girl in the World”, an improvised cop show starring Sonny Yang, a hilariously depressing game of bingo involving the audience, and a surreal Bert and Ernie-esque duo named the Bedroom Boyz.
This was a great night, veering clear of more traditional sketch to try something discomfiting, hilarious and very different for Perth. I am excited to see what Todd does next.
You can catch the next Todd asked me out on the 15 of October at the Velvet Lounge (Flying Scotsman). You can find all the details here.