My word, Nath Valvo was wonderful and one Melbourne based comedian that I’ve more or less followed the career of, for the past five years. The progression of his comedy has mirrored the progression of the venues he’s performed in. I remember first seeing a set he did at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival about turning thirty, in a small room at Trades Hall in Carlton. Now that he’s a big shot and thirty-five, the festival have found him a bolder venue to match. Town Hall’s Supper Room was packed and the perfect spot for a star on the rise.
You have to hand it to Nath, the guy is punctual. He must have started right on the dot because when we walked in only a couple of moments late, he was already mid-spiel and garnering some big laughs from the front row. It wasn’t long before he had me in stitches, talking about how times have changed. Much to Nath’s dismay, the guy that used to sell him ‘pingas’ was now handing him a copy of The Barefoot Investor. Brilliant.
What was glaringly obvious since the last time I saw him was that Nath had really come into his own as a comic and this was evident both in his writing, which was economical and fast-paced, but also his physicality and presence on stage. Despite his admissions of crippling social anxiety, he strutted around, energetically performing his set without fault. The speed with which he performs, makes it clear the preparation that has gone into his set. That is not to say that Nath is incapable of improvisation, he has mastered that as well, interacting with the front couple of rows like a pro.
Nath’s MICF show is entitled, I’m Happy For You and is largely an onslaught of observations about this very weird time we are in at the moment, culturally. The show mocked the smug left and slammed the bourgeoisie. He took stabs at upwardly mobile Melbournians for lining up for hours and hours in order to be granted entry into restaurants that refuse to take bookings. One of his funniest rants was about degustation ‘experiences’, which Nath exposed for all of their absurdity. If there’s a glaring hypocrisy in something, Nath will find it.
Nath seems pretty frustrated at the moment and that makes for some superb comedy. He didn’t seem to focus too much on self-deprecation with this show, rather, relied on the shared sensibility of his (I’m assuming) politically incorrect audience, via observational comedy. In short, Nath Valvo is a pretty seasoned performer and someone I always try and see each year at the festival. This was by far his best show, yet. What I love about his comedy is that his observations are spot on and have a zeitgeist element to them that the audience responds to.
There’s nothing better than seeing the evolution of an artist and it’s wonderful to see that Nath’s comedy has moved somewhere new and exciting. I left wondering why the overwhelming applause and cheers didn’t encourage him to come back out for an encore joke. At the same time, however, his humility only made me hungry for more Nath Valvo. Clever.