Australian comedy’s king of nervous anxiety, Luke McGregor is having somewhat of a ‘coming of age’. After starting out on the scene in 2008, he made his breakthrough by winning the Best Newcomer award at 2013’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Trading on his dorky demeanour and a squeaky nervous laugh added to the end of each attempt to illicit a response from the crowd, McGregor’s anxious and uneasy nature endeared him to audiences and television comedy producers alike. Roles in It’s a Date and Utopia followed amongst others. By 2016, he had no less than two ABC comedies of his own making to his name – Luke Warm Sex and Rosehaven. What’s more, the nerdy redhead with the lack of confidence had found a long-term girlfriend. Can he really be the nervy dweeb anymore?
Well, the title of this production – Almost Fixed It – goes some way to answering that question. McGregor is doubtless a more ‘together’ character than the newcomer of four years ago was. He has his personal life sorted out and his biggest work-life concerns involve production runners who leave their mobile phones turned on while he’s shooting on set, but his constant face-rubbing, eye-hiding anxiousness is as present as ever. To prove the point he hides in the wings before coming on and let’s us know his mum is side-stage giving him the thumbs up to reassure him. In case we don’t believe that, he goes on to describe his phobia of sleeping with the wardrobe door open or allowing any part of his body, besides his face, to be uncovered by the sheets. Fear, irrational or otherwise is his stock in trade.
His funny justifications to his apprehensive behaviour illicit the appropriate reactions from the audience if the ‘aaawwws’ from many female voices are anything to go by. McGregor has developed a fan base who find him cute and want to take him to their collective bosom. He fits the millennial term ‘adorkable’ perfectly.
He might be seeing a therapist and still feeling anxious about life, but he has certainly worked out what his audience wants from him and delivers in highly amusing spades.