With more than 600 acts on offer, patrons at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival are spoiled for choice.

One local hero, Dave Thornton, is a veteran player on the national stand – up comedy circuit. At thirty – eight, he already has a long and impressive list of live, television and radio appearances.

In 2013, I had the honour of reviewing Thornton’s MICF show, Tall & Pointy. Five years on, his laid – back, trademark charm is stronger than ever. So What Now? demonstrates why he is a story – telling king. Right from the outset of this fifty – minute journey, Thornton is friendly, goofy, self – deprecating and engaging.

As a choice of venue, Max Watts creates an up close and personal experience. Meaning, So What Now? is at times less an actual show, and instead like we are reuniting with a long – lost buddy.

Prior to his jam – packed set, Thornton chatted and connected with several people in the first few rows. Always on his A Game, he managed to generate big laughs from the most innocent conversation. Thornton is switched on, always in the moment, and sharp. Seeing him work the room with utmost confidence, is a pleasure in itself.

Like my previous experience, Thornton covers a wide range of topics, this time, including:

  • Attending a Foo Fighters concert;
  • Binging on gritty Netflix dramas;
  • The rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne;
  • Donating clothes to charity;
  • Pedigree dogs;
  • Gentrified suburbs;
  • Alternatives to dairy milk;
  • Cute babies;
  • Trying for a child;
  • Safety words;
  • Buying condoms from a supermarket;
  • Mums and smart phones;
  • Flying Qantas versus Jetstar or Tiger Air;
  • Mobile phone dependency;
  • Grammar police;
  • Sympathy claps;
  • The meaning of words;
  • Letter redundancy;
  • Cashless societies;
  • Fruit molestation;
  • Taking an Uber with your mum;
  • Five – year financial plans;
  • Teaching kids sign language;
  • Infant logic;
  • Swearing in front of children;
  • Anticipating his daughter’s teen years;
  • Comedians who are parents;
  • Truth in silence;
  • Being stung by a jelly fish;
  • Male versus female egos;
  • Missed call paranoia;
  • Katy Perry’s marriage to Russell Brand;
  • The Brunswick Baths kiddie pool; and,
  • Messing with the mind of an eight – year old bully.

In the mere space of an hour, who knew we could learn so much about contemporary society?

This is more than stand – up comedy. As Thornton cheekily declared at one point, for the benefit of any reviewers out there in the audience, “It’s a Ted Talk with punch lines.”

Thornton closed the show, by dragging a volunteer up on stage.  Dylan, whom he had been grilling earlier, was more than happy to be a willing victim.

Together, they played a game, where Thornton asked five multiple – choice questions about his routine. (For the record, Dylan aced it.)

It was a delight to see Thornton in top form. So What Now? plays for the full duration of the festival until April 22.