Some comedians avoid The Line. Others go right up to The Line and dip their toe on the other side. And a few comedians completely ignore it, merrily dancing the Cha Cha as they cross over it. One show dedicated to crossing this line is The Wrong Night, a weekly collection of late night silliness which allows comics to perform their most crass, cruel, offensive and tasteless bits of material. In a circus tent.
Comedians have long needed to self-censor their cruder material. Last year the film The Aristocrats revealed the dark side of many mainstream comics. In this hilarious documentary, comics told, discussed and analysed the ultimate dirty joke, each with their own sickeningly brilliant twist (no, you won’t find out what it was here, go and see the film yourself). What The Aristocrats showed is that within each nice, clean cut Jerry Seinfeld is a devilish Amazing Jonathan itching to escape.
The Wrong Night is the Comedy Festival’s The Aristocrats. Each Saturday night a selection of Festival comics combine with the three members of The Six (subversive mathematics goes with their subversive comedy) and take to the stage in the tent at the Umbrella Revolution at Federation Square.
There’s nothing inherently funny about rude and offensive things. You cannot simply walk on to stage and say shitfuckcunt and expect to get laughs. It aint funny. The usual rules of comedy still apply, with big laughs going to skilled story telling, unexpected twists of logic and clever observation. Even when the boundaries of taste are removed, the boundaries of what is funny still remain. Many comics would do well to keep this in mind.
Despite persistent rain and a late start, the first night went off smoothly with Justin Hamilton as the sexually repressed MC. Highlights of the night included the rising star Sammy J, the classy standup of supernova Eddie Perfect and the sketch comedy of Aurora Australis-like The Six. With a different line-up each Saturday, though, this info is about as useless as bathers at the Yarra. Check it out for yourself. Just leave Grandma at home.