Tuesday nights are notoriously difficult even for established comics. Now imagine the first Tuesday after the Easter long weekend on a wintery Melbourne night towards the end of the Comedy Festival.
‘You seem nervous’ Canadian Mike Wilmot repeatedly told a half-full (and that’s being polite) crowd in the basement of the Victoria Hotel. If we were nervous, it was perhaps for Wilmot who faced the unenviable task of turning only a few rows of punters into piles and piles of laughter.
Wilmot is no wide-eyed newcomer. The foul-mouthed Canadian has been to our shores for a number of years and the first thing you notice from his most recent visit is that he’s lost a heap of weight. Once your surly uncle at the bar, Wilmot has trimmed down, but what he may have lost in size, he certainly hasn’t lost in offensiveness or proclivity for drinking.
Unashamedly unpretentious with no frills, no theme and no title, Wilmot excels in the kind of hilariously low-brow humour that would probably attract a barrage of belly laughs from a drunken Friday full-house. Dick jokes, menopause, even the Bill Cosby stuff could barely sustain much more than a solid chuckle from the diminutive Tuesday showing. Although a trilogy of tales crapping your dacks in public momentarily brought the crowd up and the tone down, it was largely an uphill battle for Wilmot.
When you’ve been on the stand-up game for as long as Wilmot has, I don’t think there’d be a whole lot that would faze you. You have your good nights and your bad nights. And while his lukewarm Tuesday reception may not be one that even he remembers too fondly (‘I’ve had more people in my house!’ Wilmot exclaimed) it was nonetheless an enjoyable hour of stand-up from one of Canada’s finest, filthiest exports.