Here’s what the world of Aussie comedy needs more of- another good looking, middle class, straight, white male. Just as well Jack Gramenz is funny. Really funny. It’s not that I was surprised, I was just pleased, as the guy is only twenty-three. It’s hard to imagine that a twenty-three year old has enough cynicism or even scepticism for good comedy, let alone the confidence to profess what he’s deduced about this wacky world, to a roomful of strangers. One could only assume after seeing his set though, that the future is bright for Jack Gramenz.
Lucky for audiences, this comic decided to leave a promising career in journalism behind, in favour of pursuing his penchant for comedy. Life’s too short and I think he made the right decision. He’s young, smart, talented and charismatic. Being in the presence of talent that’s not quite there yet, but completely on its way, is exciting and I think Jack Gramenz is a name we’ll be hearing with increasing regularity, in the years to come. He’s certainly an appropriate contender for Best Newcomer at the festival this year, even if he did say so himself.
The great thing about comics like Jack is that they actually write jokes. It’s not just funny observations, interesting insights or pushing a social and/or political agenda, he’s crafted fifty minutes of jokes with set-ups and pay-offs. Call me old fashioned, but that’s what I’m generally on the hunt for in a stand-up comic. His secret weapon and in many cases, his point of difference from other newcomers, is that he’s whip-smart, articulate and adequately rehearsed. All he needs now is a bigger audience, more confidence in his ability and in my opinion, a bit more audience engagement.
In the short time since I saw the show, web based research fuelled by my growing curiosity for him, led me to his podcast, The Lucas Warmtake Half Hour. The podcast is available on his website, along with an array of sophisticatedly written contributions to a variety of magazines and online publications. Being in his early twenties, I started to wonder if this guy would peak early, having already done so much. His evident productivity in recent years, doesn’t match his admission that he spent most of last year smoking weed and slacking off. My guess is, he’s been pretty busy.
The title of his show, Jack Gramenz- Is trying to win best newcomer, is self-aware and unapologetic at best, a lame title at worst. He frequently references the competition that he is trying to secure the title of and fleshes the show out with a broad range of topics that interest me, including politics, career changes that result in significant pay-cuts, the legalisation of marijuana, and the wonder of Hip-Hop, while touching on the fact that he doesn’t much enjoy sex. The latter, a fascinating admission. I wanted to hear more! But there I go, back into the gutter. Sadly for me, this wasn’t a show packed with wild and embarrassing sexual failings, in fact, while undoubtedly self-aware, he doesn’t seem prone to the predictability of self-deprecation.
Jack truly won me over in the last ten minutes of his set when he broached the topic of his undying and ardent love of rap music. He emphatically stressed that he simply doesn’t understand why people, particularly those from older generations, don’t enjoy the genre. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not one for approaching comics after a show, but I did find myself dying to harass him about his favourite pin ups. As an early twenty-something though, I’m assuming Gramenz has moved more into the contemporary varieties, the Childish Gambino’s of the lyrical landscape. I’m reminded that twenty-somethings are annoyingly woke like that. Here I am with Big L, Slick Rick and if I’m in the mood for some lazy lyricism, G-Unit, dominating my archaic rap playlist.
That aside and to reiterate the sentiment of the show, Jack Gramenz is trying to win best newcomer. I think he should.