Pat Burtscher’s Breaking Even

By Cathy Culliver

Pat Burtscher doesn’t have any grand ambitions. As the title of his new show suggests, he’s just focused on breaking even and not losing any more of what he currently has.

And this mentality sums him up as a performer quite well too; he’s not flashy or self-important, he just gets up on stage and tells his jokes and stories. No gimmicks, no complex light and sound show (Burtscher freely admits he doesn’t even a tech guy because he can’t afford one).

But just because his approach to life and this particular show is simple, you shouldn’t think that the same goes for his abilities as a comedian. This guy knows his stuff.

The UK-based Canadian has some interesting and very funny ideas about life; what’s so great about them is that they seem so obvious and yet you never thought of them yourself, like the idea that people should have to earn their face. If you’re a good person, you get a nice face. And vice versa. So simple.

It’s also pretty clear that Burtscher doesn’t suffer idiots. Imagine my trepidation as he told the story of when he’d thrown a reviewer out of his show in Adelaide for being a heckling smart arse. That probably makes him sound like a bit of an arse himself, but he actually comes off as the good guy in the story; he just didn’t want the show being ruined for everyone else. So it turns out I was safe as long as I kept my mouth shut.

This is a simple, back-to-basics, gimmick-free show but it’s still a really fun way to spend 60 minutes. Burtscher is a genuinely funny man who will make you laugh at his unusual world view, but at the same time somehow make you eventually agree with everything he says.

Breaking Even is playing at Tuxedo Cat until April 21.