Scottish-born comedian Danny Bhoy wants everyone to keep things simple. Last night at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall for his Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Please Untick This Box (on every night till 9 April), Bhoy lamented the unnecessary complications in today’s world. Why should we fill out a survey when we’re just getting a haircut? What’s the use of explaining how you heard about Metro’s train system? Bhoy was set on simplifying things using his signature quick wit, observant intelligence and adept skill at crafting perfect punchlines.
First playing at the MICF in 2003, Bhoy now regularly tours sold-out shows in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where he has huge followings. Bhoy has four DVDs of his stand up shows including an hour-long special for Comedy Central. He has also been on David Letterman and had several appearances on Live at the Apollo. Having originally studied to be a history teacher, political commentary and cultural awareness have become staples of Bhoy’s routine, as well as the ability to establish an intimacy with his audience, even while he relentlessly mocks their current system of government.
Introducing himself over the speaker, Danny Bhoy talked about his decision not to have a support act because we came to see him, not someone ‘shitter than me’, he claimed. Pretty soon he launched into some topical political comedy, showing his knack for imitating accents as he satirised the argumentative nature of Australian parliament. He suggested our government look to American politics, whose campaign speeches consist of continuous references to ‘freedom’ and ‘children’, repeated to the point of absurdity. One of the show’s highlights began with a trip to the sight of John F Kennedy’s assassination, where a little white cross marks the point at which he was shot—a target, Bhoy quipped. He then likened this to putting mock-tire skids in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel where Princess Diana died. When this joke was met with some reservations from the audience, Bhoy relished the irony of us enjoying his joke about President Kennedy only moments ago.
Bhoy clearly enjoys pushing envelopes with his humour—an attitude which he’s claimed has got him death threats in the past—but all this is done with his cheeky grin and affable, conversational manner. A comedian whose irreverent sense of humour is infectious, Bhoy’s performance is enjoyable and thought-provoking without ever seeming reactionary despite its touchy subjects. He also managed to mix in a few anecdotes including spotting a teenager defacing his poster and subsequently requesting a photo when Bhoy confronted him, as well as a particularly awkward naked encounter in his hotel room.
Danny Bhoy’s Please Untick This Box really gives you your money’s worth. Like Jen Kirkman’s performance also in this year’s festival, it’s the product of a comedian who loves what he does and is working hard to give the audience what they’ve paid for. A real highlight at this year’s Comedy Festival.