I was not in a good mood. Not the fault of anyone particular, but by the time I had finally wound my way to Montecristo Comedy, I had managed to traverse the entire CBD. My fault, really, for not paying more attention to bus stop relocations and all that construction work being done. The $9 bottle of Peroni from the bar certainly didn’t help either.
Which meant I could’ve griped about anything and everything for the rest of the evening, but instead, Matt Stellingwerf had me in fits almost the entire time of his hour long set.
It’s the opening night for “Bachelor of Arts“, his fourth comedy festival show, and Matt launches straight into it with gusto. After a short video at the beginning to set the stage which, unfortunately, had many in the audience nodding in agreement to the absurdity of studying a BA, he goes straight for the tough stuff: gender, race, and alternative medicine.
You know, the kind of stuff you get into a heated argument with hipster friends about after a pint too many at a 3am house party, and you only know all this shit because you took PolSci 101.
Having gone through a gauntlet in his studies, Matt manages to duck and weave his way through criminology, primatology (that bit’s particularly funny), the US constitution, and even manages to take a slug at both Hamilton and Australia. Look out for the latter, as the punchline, which he said himself, was indeed the best joke of the night.
Matt manages to ooze confidence and suave, easily shifting from one joke to the next and combining them together in mostly coherent fashion. The occasional sections where the change of direction were noticeable was used to good effect, cracking jokes at the nature of segue’s and adding in bits of audience responses.
Something particularly nice was his observations of the audience – noting in real time which jokes stuck and which didn’t, and what stories held the most resonance. While I haven’t been to very many festival shows, it was a pleasant gesture to see not only his references to past crowds, but also potential tweaks to his set for the future.
Of course, there were observations of his I agreed with, and there were those I didn’t. But that’s the inherent nature of having studied a BA – challenging the status quo comes second nature, and I’m sure many in the audience will have their own points of contention. And it detracts nothing from Matt’s comedy. His is an intelligent affair, mixing real information with self-deprecation, satire, and the absurdity of human idiocy.
The ending may have been a little bit forced, though it was neatly wrapped in a bow tying the entire hour together. Probably being aware of the time, and through self admission of missing a supposedly great bit that led to the end, it was an ‘okay’ finisher. Compared with the hour itself it’s a bit lackluster, but to be fair most in the audience were a bit short of breath having laughed so hard throughout the entire event, so it may have been welcomed.
Ultimately, “Bachelor of Arts” is a great soirée traversing the minefield of a BA and its real-world applications, laced with good natured digs and the occasional sardonic smirk. It’s a show not to be missed, and may just grant Matt’s wish of achieving the coveted Billy T.
- Intelligent material
- Smooth and un-rushed delivery
- Good energy
- Not nearly long enough