South African born, New Zealand based comedienne Urzila Carlson impresses from the moment she walks on the stage to a full crowd of her 2015 MICF show “Poise Control” at The Greek Parthenon.
Affable right from the beginning, Carlson assures everyone that her stand up comic routine will not involve mean audience pickings only collective group question call outs. Given, Aussies love someone who is self-deprecating, her references to her own weight and sexuality early on make everyone in the room feel at ease whilst her questions ingeniously allow Carlson to recognise who her audience is or isn’t and to accommodate accordingly. One of the most hilarious and seemingly impromptu segments involved questioning the only vegan in the room about her choices and how hard was it to give up bacon. This lead in nicely to share her philosophy that people are only angry because of bad coffee especially when served in a vegan cafe by a pale hipster dude with a man bun. A slight deviation from the angry theme lead to a recent experience Carlson had at the Vic Markets with an overly protective soap vendor and the recent tram stabbing of someone who looked at another for too long. Her ability to show the ridiculous in the everyday encouraged the audience’s enthusiastic amusement all the way. To all the expats in the room, she expanded on how by living away from home hasn’t meant her sport affiliations have changed; as her cricket discussion on board on a plane incident comically exemplified.
All these early stories lead into the reason behind the show title Poise Control, which Carlson amusingly reveals wasn’t just about exposing women’s wetness issues but more about its shortened form of PC and how by becoming so politically correct people have become dishonest and angry. Forming the idea that as babies we are all PC and app free – Carlson returns time and time again to this tech concept enthusiastically showing how teens and parents need more appropriate apps to cope with certain relatable situations or the link between the honesty of toddlers and the elderly at a party. Referencing her own personal experience of becoming a parent along with her female partner and how Nurse Debbie honestly revealed she would not help deliver a baby from a same sex couple got the expected gasps but then showed her talent to turn the horrifying into the comical when the excuse given was the Nurse was diabetic. Oh really?, she exclaims, and again the audience is passionately cheering for her approach to bigoted idiots. Other personal references about dealing with Captain Obvious, and how women’s bookmark app used during arguments in the car when there is now way out, got some of the biggest laughs of the night.
With more sassy edge than a Seinfeld episode, Carlson’s routine succeeds because it is identifiable, topical, and funny all at the same time. Only venturing into a life as a stand-up comedienne since 2008, Carlson’s rapid fire gags lead seamlessly along for the 60 minutes and easily could have entertained for another hour or more without complaint from anyone. In closing, Carlson shares her view about the four walks of life; happy, hippie, hobo and hitchhikers and ends as she began– reflective on the variety of life, warning all not to be angry or rude, highlighting the positive and making everyone leave with a big smile on their face. A definite highlight of the festival, highly recommended