Lawrence Mooney delivers one of the 2018 comedy festival’s most impressive, smart and surprising shows.
The surprise comes because not only is the show so funny, Lawrence Mooney absolutely skewers Turnbull with fantastic satirical sidebars that expose back stories and side interests of a Prime Minister you don’t see in public or the media.
Making an hour-long stand-up show for a much-loved and well-known character so surprising is no mean feat. We’re all familiar with Moonman’s hilarious appearances for Triple M as the Australian Prime Minister, during which he flits from the absurd (e.g. “rolling up a fatty with Lucy”) to the all-too-believable resentment-fuelled abuse of Tony “Big Ears” Abbott and Bill “Tits” Shorten (Shorten has apparently booked tickets to the show – what wouldn’t you give to be there on that night?), as well as various humourous topical takes on current affairs and life as our nation’s leader.
Lovers of Mooney’s Malcolm will be pleased to hear that all of those can be found during ‘An Evening With Malcolm Turnbull’, but where you could forgive Moonman for just compiling them into a kind of “Best of Triple M” show, the show feels like it’s at least 80-90% brand new material.
He achieves this partly through smart, original writing and top class crowd-work – asking the audience who they vote for and reacting to their jobs (on preview night, the guy who works repairing Fords and Holdens, gets a shudder from the PM at the idea of touching non-imported cars).
But the main way Mooney delivers such a fresh, different show is by creating a concept of a talk show, where he can present an opening monologue before retiring to the “mock baroque” furniture to interview a member of the audience.
The construct gives the show just the mechanic Mooney needs to flick a switch (in the “ad breaks” of his talk show) between the PM being a jovial, upbeat presenter of light entertainment, and his dark, satirical swipes, looking at Turnbull’s alleged stalking of an ex-girlfriend or his relationship with Goldman Sachs.
With so much packed in, and the gags – a nice mix of well-written lines and reactive throwaways - flying thick and fast, the show’s hour goes by in no time.
Triple M listeners will love this show, no matter your political persuasion. As demonstrated when Mooney asked the audience on preview night who they voted for and most (maybe a third) answered Liberal, then Labour, then Green, with about a third not feeling brave enough to raise their hand.
One thing everyone agreed on walking out, though: this was a master of stand-up using all his tools to present one of the shows of the 2018 festival.