Melbourne International Comedy Festival | Luke McGregor Does Awkward in the Best Way Possible
By Maggie Coggan | @MaggieCoggan
Image courtesy of MICF website
There is one word most people use to describe Melbourne based comedian, Luke McGregor: awkward. This isn’t always a good thing for a comedian to be, but McGregor uses this defining trait to his advantage, charming the audience with his lovable yet cringe-worthy stories in his show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Almost Fixed It.
McGregor has had a varied career to say the least. Originally from Tasmania, he graduated university with a combined bachelor degree of arts and economics in 2007, going on to work as a call centre analyst for Medicare and Centrelink. While he knew he needed a change from his call centre job, the birth of his comedy career wasn’t exactly planned. After going to a comedy gig with a friend, he got up on stage and – with the help of a few drinks – did his best to make the audience laugh. Positive feedback from other comedians and some perseverance led to him being named the Best Newcomer at the Sydney and Melbourne Comedy Awards, alongside sell out shows across the country and quite a few TV appearances over the years.
The first time I came across McGregor was in his ABC documentary series, Luke-Warm Sex, where he explored all things sex while confronting his fear and anxiety surrounding it.
Now, I can do awkward. In fact I’m a pretty awkward person myself, so I enjoy knowing that other people out there are feeling those same, anxious feelings. Luke-warm Sex, however, was too much to handle and I spent most of it cringing hard. I wasn’t really sure what to expect in his standup, but I’m happy to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
In the time between his ABC program and this show, McGregor has really matured as a comedian. The title of his show is incredibly apt. He’s got his life together, but the stories he shared with the audience about his experiences with relationships, being a slightly unattractive child and teenager, as well as his day-to-day experiences carry the right amount of awkward that the audience can relate to, rather than run away from.
His nervous yet lovable persona is also something I really enjoyed. A lot of comedians out there bring with them an abundance of confidence when performing. Possibly because they are actually that sure of their ability, or they are masking the fact that they are on the verge of breaking down in front of the audience because they are so terrified. Luke doesn’t shy away from being nervous, though. He discusses his social anxiety openly, making fun of himself and a serious topic in a way that only some comedians can do well. The way he stands and talks is exactly how he is probably feeling, and this makes for a very real performance. which I really connected to throughout.
While I thoroughly enjoyed his show, and was happy to say it was very different from his documentary days, there were times when I wished he wasn’t so hard on himself. There were moments when he would come out with very witty, off hand remarks which didn’t put himself down and it was great. I love self deprecating humour as much as the next person, but an entire show of it can be a little bit taxing.
In saying that however, he doesn’t do this to the point where you just feel bad for him, and this show in particular really shows his growth as a person and comedian. His style is clever and unique and I really can’t wait to see what he comes out with in the future. 3.5 / 5 stars
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