If you don’t already know what the word ‘Malaka’ means in Greek I’ll let you look that one up for yourself; it’s certainly not (as I assumed) the surname of two Greek brothers who are doing a stand up show together.

Andrew Portelli and Ben Searle are joined by guest comedian Joseph Green in the premiere of their show The Malaka Brothers Ride Again at the Imperial Hotel for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. A small audience occupy one of the upstairs rooms at the Imperial as Andrew introduces the show, the comedians and the $900 smoke machine that graces the stage with it’s presence. The show opens with guest comedian Joseph Green an ‘honorary malaka’ for the evening. Although his pace is rather slow, it compliments Joseph’s dry manner as the audience is eased into the show gently with the tale about the time he forgot he’d been a stripper on the Mornington Peninsula. Joseph goes on to link his act together well whilst managing to cover a broad subject matter; including sharing a court room with George Pell and correcting his catholic mother about sex toys as a teenager. Although there is definitely room for Joseph to grow as a stand up comedian, he definitely has charisma and is an entertaining storyteller.

Next up it’s Ben Searle, who couldn’t be more relatable to this audience as he broaches the subject of contemporary Melbourne stereotypes; explaining that although he may look like he lives in the suburbs, loves craft beer and drives a hot rod, in reality he lives in the city, is vegan and rides a bicycle. Over the next twenty minutes Ben covers the everyday trials and tribulations of the modern day man, from his sexual health affecting his insurance premium to the time his uncle tried to resuscitate a frozen pet mouse. Despite Ben’s descriptive style and engaging storytelling, I felt that the fluidity of his act could be improved; it may have been first show nerves but at points I felt as though his transitions could have been better and his style sometimes leaned more towards storytelling than stand up comedy.

Last but certainly not least it was Andrew Porcelli’s turn to take the stage and enjoy a well deserved escape from his day job as a lawyer. Andrew dives in with some dry self analysis and what it means to be a ‘man’ when you don’t have any children or have never been to war. Andrew goes on to divulge more of his topical theories about life including those about dating apps, religion, sex and a confession (see the show to hear what this is). Andrew’s awkward and sarcastic style kept me laughing through the entirety of his act and he clearly stood out amongst the three performers for both content and delivery.

I have to admit that there were elements of the performance as a whole which I feel could have been elaborated on had the performers been more experienced or possibly had more workshop time whilst devising the piece. Having said this, there is definitely a ton of potential here and I’m sure that The Malaka Brothers are one to watch as they gain momentum on Melbourne’s comedy scene. Overall The Malaka Brothers Ride Again is a well rounded and entertaining show; its contemporary comedic style and topical content makes for a great night if you want to sample some of the smaller shows that the MICF has to offer.

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