Josh Perring – Totally Mild review by Jessica Taurins

****stars

Josh Perring has been well-known for a few things in his life – as a young host on the children’s nature show ‘Totally Wild’, as a radio presenter, and as a man who accidentally took a bunch of hard drugs and ran away from a house party. Well, perhaps not so much the last one. What he’s not currently known for is his stand-up comedy, but after seeing his very first Melbourne Fringe Festival show ‘Totally Mild’, it feels like he’s definitely one of the up-and-comings in the Australian stand-up crowd.

Perring’s humour varies between personal stories and ‘relatable’ topics of conversation, along the lines of a Wil Anderson type of comedian, although Perring is definitely much more present onstage and engaged with his small audience. His running jokes are gutbusting, and he very successfully threads current events through his stories, slipping in throwback references to the great delight of the audience.

As a young man, Perring perhaps needs a little more ‘life’ before he can be a really hard-hitting comedian, if he ever wants to be. A lot of his material is very millennial humour – though given not one person in his audience seemed to be over 30, myself included, he hits his target market hard and fast. Whenever Perring posed a question, murmured responses from the audience came back at him, with people nodding in agreement at his points on social media and the difficulty of picking a Netflix movie while leaving enough time to actually watch the movie. A couple of references fell flat, though any disappointment was quickly smoothed over and forgotten after the next uproar of laughter.

Perring’s performance is quick-witted and he talks at great speed, very rarely tripping over any of his words. He’s clearly very practiced, this particular show was his third of the current run at the Fringe Festival, and it all feels very natural, or at least he can confidently present himself that way. It was a delight to watch him float across the stage as his stories flowed.

The greatest part of Perring’s style is his timing. During his years on TV and radio, Perring has honed his comedic timing to a sharp point, slotting in jokes and pausing for effect extremely well multiple times throughout the show. Somehow stopping to take a drink of water after dropping a hot joke was even better than just watching the crowd, giving an aura of calm and confidence in his work and his ability.

Perring’s show ends on a high note (ha ha) with a terrible-turned-sweet personal story about meeting his long-term partner. It was a wonderful feeling to walk out of the room on that tone, which left the audience almost skipping down the stairs because of the joyous emotion. Or perhaps it was just the bangin’ remix of the Totally Wild theme song that caused all the dancing, who really knows.

Definitely one to look out for, Perring has come a long way since he was holding small lizards in the background of a TV show. ‘Totally Mild’ was a great show with a lot of heart in places, and while some of the more generic humour could use sprucing up, Perring has a fantastic base layer of storytelling, and his timing could make even the most basic joke hysterical.

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