The greatest thing about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is that there’s something to please everyone who likes to laugh, and perhaps the thing that every show has in common is the thread of humanity running through the humour. We laugh when we can empathise or sympathise with certain situations and when the comedians put into words life’s greatest absurdities, oddities and awkwardness.
In this era’s PC centric culture, it’s getting harder to get a good belly laugh for fear of insulting someone. It’s really great that there’s a brilliant festival like this one where you just know you’re going to chuckle at someone else’s state of affairs, and it will be okay. Laughter will be encouraged even!
For those of us who have ever been to school, or who have had the fortune or misfortune to stand on the other side of the desk, Nadine Sparks’ show Teacher would definitely tickle your funny bone. There’s just so much to laugh at in the incongruous situation that is the school classroom.
Teenagers were never really designed to sit at a desk for four or five hours a day, unless that sitting involved a ‘shoot ‘em dead’ video game. In an attempt to tame youthful vigour, chalkies have come up with some ‘ripper’ strategies. Those strategies: threats, sayings, pleas and rationalisations are hilarious when heard in the context of a comedy festival.
Sparks doesn’t only talk about teacher/student scenarios, but explores the strange world of the work colleague. There are workplaces everywhere inhabited by the left-of-centre salary slaves, the boasters, brown-nosers, lovers of rigidity, latecomers, naysayers, and by the annoyingly overly positive. By exploring the world of workplace relationships, Sparks manages to make funny the place we find ourselves in nine’ish’ to five’ish’. There is something for everyone to laugh about in this show, and maybe the smile on our dial on Monday morning is there because we can see our cosmos through the eyes of one very funny comedian.