I hadn’t heard of the comic Sam Taunton when I agreed to go and see his show, appropriately entitled, It’s nice, It’s modern. In between fits of laughter during his set, I started to wonder why not. Perhaps because he was nominated for Best Newcomer last year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Not exactly ‘part of the furniture’ just yet.
Put simply, Sam was great. Unfortunately for me, I can’t put it too much more eloquently than that. It’s nice, It’s modern is truly a back-to-basics MICF show. All Sam had at his disposal was a room, some unglamorous fold out chairs, a mic and his audience. I always think that comics like this truly put themselves out there to showcase their stand-up ability in the absence of technical crutches.
Sam was everything you’d want in a night out at the comedy festival, save for the sincere lack of drinks available in the depths of Town Hall. The content was unsurprisingly observational but nonetheless, cleverly weaved together. Sam’s content was also on point for privileged twenty and thirty-somethings and among other topics, he really managed to capture the sanctimonious nature of our culture today. Hipster waiters at upwardly mobile cafes giving Sam grief for forgetting his Keep Cup had me laughing, knowingly. On a personal note, he nailed it when he expressed the reservations he had about attending a music festival. I’ve long felt like a bit of a loser amongst friends when I express absolutely no desire to attend such events. It was nice to hear that other people struggled with the notion of not showering and sharing one of four porta-loos with a few thousand people over four days. This is the kind of comedy that is great after a long week at work, relatable but most importantly, funny.
While the comedy was clever, it was also accessible. If nineties nostalgia and observations on the absurdity of post-modernity aren’t a fit for your comedy palette, there was still plenty there, his most brilliant tale being one about his Dad and the old family dog dying. Prepare yourselves for this yarn- apparently Sam’s Dad had the old family dog put-down despite the dog performing to 75% of his capacity. 75% of a dog’s capacity (as Sam put it) was evidently sleeping, eating and lying in the sun. Sounds about right to me. Sam promptly branded his father a murderer and the absurdity of it all had the audience laughing hysterically.
While Sam was great, I did start to wonder why he hadn’t ‘made it’ in a mainstream sense, as he was certainly good enough. I could count on my hand comics of a similar ilk that were now household names and not as good as Sam. I came to the conclusion after seeing the Best of Edinburg later in the festival, showcasing some utterly brilliant international comics that while Sam was excellent, there was nothing particularly distinct about his comic persona.
With this said, It’s nice, It’s modern was charming, intelligent and nicely put together. On a side note, Sam’s a good looking guy. I guess in that sense he’s like his comedy- charming, intelligent and nicely put together. Sam was funny and I think he deserves a more prominent spot in Australian comedy. I look forward to seeing if he gets there.