By Bronwyn Cook

I’m going to be completely honest here. For over a week I thought I was seeing the host of “Have You Been Paying Attention”. And I’m not sure that is the first time a person has gotten Tom Gleisner and Tom Gleeson confused. I mean, they even look really similar.

Anyways, to be clear, I did not see the host of HYBPA at the MICF. I saw the host of “Hard Quiz” at the Comedy Theatre as part of his MICF 2021 show residency.

(Side note: I will forever associate the Comedy Theatre with the many, many rocking nights I spent there in 2011 being a front row tart for Rock of Ages. Man, I loved that show. I hope they do something for the ten year anniversary this year.)

Gleeson has been touring his current show, “Lighten Up” since 2019, starting at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and performing where-ever possible since.

As with most comedy sets these days, Gleeson had a lot to say about COVID-19, lockdown, the bushfires, science, day-drinking, charity fundraising and country living.

Gleeson walks a very fine line with his observational comedy, and sometimes crosses it into controversial cringe / nervous laughter territory veering towards offensive.

Don’t mistake me, his set does contain some absolute gut-busting hilarious material, especially around his (secret) 2021 Gold Logie campaign, his colourful country neighbours and why he doesn’t like lollies.

But when you do touch on very sensitive issues like mental health, comedians have to be very careful not to leave the audience with a sour note.

Would I recommend this show…yes, but with a caveat that you may wince a couple of times and think “yeah mate…too far”. But then the next second you will be laughing. Which is kind of like life I guess!

The great thing about a lot of the MICF shows is that they are (a) affordable and (b) only an hour long, so you can either be home at a reasonable hour or kick on in the city and support both artists and hospitality by having a nice dinner out.