Comedians need all the exposure they can get, so when your name appears in a headline as the victim of uninstigated assault and a near-death experience, why not capitalise on it?
In his new 50-minute fun fest of intimate reveals and too-soon remarks, Blake Everett brings one-man show Greatest Hit(s) to Melbourne. Moving from stages of his life with a light-hearted air, Everett speaks of falling in love with the Greatest Hits albums from his youth through to his actual king-hit incident in Frankston two years ago, which, in his words, was a cliché he never thought he’d ever have to live. Giving high school humour an educated twist, the undercut – no pun intended – of his severe one-liners stabbing brashly deep at sensitive subjects makes him a master of tension with a purpose, with his style of comedy challenging the hyper-fragility of a current day audience and offering a biting humour that is often underappreciated. His South Park-isms keep the audience splitting at the seems with laughter even when they feel like they shouldn’t be laughing, and in the moments the audience did ‘ooh’ in trepidation, he would sweep them back up in his embrace again and be comforted by his trustworthy tone. Using everything from his book of confetti to the handfuls of underwear he asks the audience to throw at him, this show is a hoot and a half all the way through, giving and taking from the audience in the beautiful abusive relationship that is true stand-up comedy. Using his loop pedal and guitar to layer some beautiful tracks before laying lyrics full of puns and promise in a fleshed-out musical tale, Everett deserves to be noted as a smart comedic composer, a useful trick to spice up your typical stand-up much in the same way comics like Tim Minchin, Bo Burnham and Hannah Gadsby have done. Which takes us to the next point.
While a humorous show and a lovable comic who we inherently trust with our nights out, it does seem to explicitly draw from the format, style and even content of some bigger current comedians. Taking the musical ingenuity and Australian ping of Tim Minchin, the call-and-response effected voice sampling and sometimes nowhere-getting self-slandering spontaneity of Bo Burnham, and the conversational Aussie mannerisms and politically-“woke”-with-a-powerful-twist-and-unexpected-message format of Hannah Gadsby (with even a small segment on building and breaking tension in the audience), a lot of the show has potential to feel recycled to the comedic connoisseur. Although completely original in moments with fresh jokes and drawn from unique personal experiences like most good comics will utilise, it often fell into a trap of derivative vignettes and familiarities, like the flashing on-and-off of the stage lights in preparation for the next set as a transition much like in Bo Burnham’s Make Happy. Despite this, Everett sold his material well and provided insight to his experiences that brought us into the world of vulnerability behind the confident mask of a comedian, paired with perfectly timed cues in the lighting and sound design. He also was sure to wear his brightly-coloured dad-shirts complete with the Superman emblem and a Hawaiian print, meaning you know he isn’t here to freak spiders. This 21-year-old non-father is here for business only, and he sells his elevator pitch well; he is one to watch.
Blake Everett’s Greatest Hit(s) tells us that sometimes the big moments we need are not the ones we buy on a CD, but rather, the ones that incapacitate us, force us to grow, and help us bounce back bigger than ever before. Holding a magnifying glass over different moments throughout one’s life has become such an Olympic sport that we often drown in our existentialism and self-importance as humans, and sometimes, using a stained glass lens with a moustache and a monocle is needed to just charm that pain away and give us something to laugh about in this big bundle of tragedy we call Life. Everett’s new show is the escapism we need.