Lewis Hobba : Backs To The Wall

By Lisa Clark

Lewis Hobba is known for his work with Hungry Beast and his radio show with Mad As Hell’s Veronica Milsom; Weekend Breakfast with Veronica and Lewis on Triple J. A self-described hipster, it’s not surprising that his show, Backs to the Wall, is in a contemporary art gallery. The concept of the show seems to have changed a little since he filled out his Festival application form and is now less about heroes and more about complaints and complaining, which is fine by me.

For the most part Lewis is a congenial observational standup comedian who starts out on unpromisingly topics, riffing about wearing glasses and the proliferation of themed marathons. He’s definitely funny though and has some nice zingers peppering his amusing stories. When he hits his stride though is when he starts telling tales about his Hippy family living without dairy or any pressures to conform to society and some very naughty older sisters. I wanted more of that.

Other topics he covered that I enjoyed included coming out as a hipster, racism and the new cool Pope (who is a bit of a headache for another comedian at the Festival doing negative stuff about the ex-pope). His pope material, as well as jokes about something called Upworthy, shows his Hungry Beast pedigree in being able to present topical material accessibly with smarts, charm and humour and bring to the audience a fresh view of both new and familiar concepts.

Lewis surprises the audience towards the end; building to a crescendo, shouting passionately about Russell Crowe and reminded me a little of Michael Chamberlain at his best. There were times at the beginning (possibly through nerves) where he sounded a bit like he was reading a script but things really loosened up as Lewis warmed into the show. Considering that this is his first ever solo comedy festival show, he presents a pretty slick performance and Lewis is definitely one to watch.

Backs To The Wall is on at Fort Delta until April 20