FRINGE: Late O’clock with Rob Hunter – Comedy – The Arkaba – 4.5K

Variety comedy shows have had an ever increasing presence in the Fringe line-up over the last few years. They generally involve multiple acts presenting small sections of their own shows, with an MC keeping things progressing and offering light banter in between. While these shows are a good way to see what is on offer at the Fringe, and maybe select a comedian or two whose full act you may want to then see, they rarely offer much more than this. Late O’clock With Rob Hunter is a happy exception.

The structure of the show is still basic – special guests come on, perform for a few minutes and are then interviewed by Hunter in a chat show setting. The big laughs come as Hunter, dead-pan, innocent eyed, and seemingly oblivious to his own rudeness, conducts interviews which insult his guests in a less than subtle, passive-aggressive manner. He is joined by side-kick Luke McGregor who, with his breaking voice and social awkwardness, is the Paul Shaffer to Hunter’s David Letterman, only sans band and with much better material. The two presenters work amazingly well together, with short sketches in between the interviews breaking up the show nicely and adding to the amusement.

This type of show requires some very obliging guests who are willing to have the Mickey taken out of them and those included in the single Adelaide performance were top rate. Comedians Felicity Ward and Dave Callan were both entertaining in their short stand-up routines and played along well throughout the personal degradation dished out by Hunter. While children’s music legend Peter Combe was maybe not quite so sure about the whole process, he handled himself well and delighted the audience (no doubt the majority of which whom fond memories of listening to him in the 80s) with a rendition of Thingth I Thay. Musical comedy duo Smart Casual closed the show and gave Hunter a bit of his own back with a specially penned song.

This is the crème of the crop when it comes to comedy variety shows. Hunter and McGregor are both fantastic talents who provided a brilliant setting for other acts to promote their shows, while also creating an original and hilarious sketch piece of their own.

Kryztoff Rating: 4.5K

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