Wil Anderson, now in his forty fifth year on Planet Earth, spends a good deal of his time worrying about the state of said planet. For the 23rd year running, Anderson has pulled a fully formed Melbourne International Comedy Show performance from the depths of his weird brain, titled ‘Wil-Informed’, which spans the politics of climate change to social commentary on the time of the ‘white, heterosexual, middle-aged man’ being over (which, thankfully, Anderson thoroughly agrees with).
A lot of Anderson’s stories are like coming home; familiar and nostalgic. Long known for his aches and pains (both physical and otherwise), his (not so) minor weed habit, and his predilection for watching advertisements late at night while crying, it’s like catching up with an old friend to hear that nothing much has changed. Still, he manages to keep those tales fresh with his trademark delivery style “Train of Madly and Hastily Derailing Thoughts” and old and new fans alike can definitely enjoy his more classic humour.
As he’s aged, Anderson has come to realise that his voice is maybe no longer the most important one in the room. Despite the rage-filled emails he receives from his peers – middle-aged white men who keep trying to give him ‘life advice’ – Anderson is extremely open to discussing social justice issues where for the first time in a long time, a white man’s opinion is not the final word.
After (positively!) discussing gender-neutral language and trans rights, Anderson expresses his love for the recent Gillette ad that took social media by storm, offending men by gently suggesting that perhaps they should reflect on their masculinity and check that it isn’t toxic to those around them. Anderson has absolutely no time for bigots and his decision to make that clear in his performance would make him a MICF favourite (if he wasn’t already).
Despite his long-running stand-up career, it can feel at times that Anderson excels far more in his improv than he does in his pre-prepared stories. The old feeling of ‘it’s funny as long as it isn’t happening to me’ was out in full force as Anderson honed in on vulnerable audience members with pinpoint accuracy, particularly those that showed up late and drew attention to themselves.
Poor Hannah (with too many spare letters in her name as compared to the simplicity of ‘Wil’) and Doug (a ‘Solution Engineer’ whose job title simultaneously bored and titillated Anderson) surely suffered behind their laughter as Anderson took them apart, while the rest of the Comedy Theatre were brought to tears by his quick-witted responses. Anderson’s enormous backlog of comedic experience shines through and his bright and mischievous responses were a true delight to watch.
‘Wil-Informed’ ends on a darker note, reflective of the gorgeous art behind Anderson during the performance. At the top, a beautiful forest scene with a variety of flouncing animals. Towards the bottom, skulls nestled in the grass. Anderson is making a statement: between the jokes about forgetting your password, the name of your best friend, and your favourite pet, there are more important things in this world that should be in focus.