Amos Gill – Where Have I Been All Your Life

By Nick Bugeja

Amos Gill is undoubtedly an up-and-coming Australian comic. At 26 years old, he’s exceptionally comfortable on stage. It feels like his natural habitat, a place where he can escape the artifice of ordinary life and tell us how he sees the world. In the coming years, expect to see more of Gill: his comedic style is both incisive and palatable enough for mainstream audiences to embrace.

For the moment, though, he’s confined to South Australian breakfast radio playing “Ed Sheeran four times a minute” and performing his stand-up routine in the top tier of the Chinese museum. It’s quite a journey up there, but one well-worth taking. I’ve seen a few sets this festival so far, and Gill’s has been the best prepared. He’s structured his show immaculately, with no awkward or unintended pauses throughout. It also builds gradually, to a point where genuine human interest and humour intersect.

The opening of the show is loosely assembled, a mixture of audience interaction and self-contained jokes, ranging from subjects such as vanity, begrudgingly judging preteen beauty contests and the sheer shittiness (channelling my best Sean Penn here) of Adelaide. From there the set shifts to Gill’s key preoccupation at this time in his life: his turbulent romantic history. Disconnected, unrelated jokes are set aside for a fluid recount of his failing love life. This part of Gill’s performance is engrossing, he proves that he has solid storytelling credentials. We’re always wanting to know what happens next, arguably as much as we anticipate the jokes that’ll inevitably come.

The main question most of us have before we go and see a show is this: is the comedian funny? The answer here is yes, but there’s more to the show than that. It becomes clear that the jokes and stories weren’t fancifully thought up, or that they’re only real inside the world of Gill’s comedy. Where Have I Been All Your Life is an exorcism of Gill’s ill-feeling and discontent through comedy, and he makes us both sympathise with and laugh at him. It’s blunt honesty – the kind Gill professes to love himself – that’s the currency of this show.

Where Have I Been All Your Life is showing at the Chinese Museum until 22 April.
Tickets are available at: