Damien Power – Not So Funny Now Is It?

By Nick Bugeja

Without a doubt, Damien Power is one of Australia’s pre-eminent comic minds working today. That estimation includes expats who have established themselves in the bigger markets of the UK and the US, à la Jim Jefferies and Steve Hughes. Power’s latest show, Not So Funny Now Is it?, is surely one of his best yet, and only bolsters the claim that he is veritably unmissable at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) this year.

He’s been plying his trade in Australian pubs, comedy clubs and entertainment venues for years, and consistently churning out material and shows outstripping many of his contemporaries. You only need to look back to the last few MICF galas to see the gulf in quality in Power’s comedy and other prominent acts, who often reek of sameness in terms of material, delivery and sensibility. Yet he’s yet to get his dues.

Not So Funny Now Is It? should be the show which catapults Power to comedy stardom. He returns to his familiar themes—of the generational divide, shifting values and ethics in Australian society, the place and utility of religion, mental health, geopolitics and international relations—with a renewed sharpness and vigour, using a mixture of well-executed stand-and-deliver bits and act outs. Power takes on both big (corporate players like Nike) and small (meth addicts on public transport) targets, and his jokes always have a social commentary component, giving them a resonance beyond the laughter which abounded through the Comedy Republic.

Considering the advent of so-called ‘TikTok comedians’ and the generally unchallenging and ‘play it safe’ core of Australian comedy acts, it’s nothing less than a duty for all good comedy lovers to attend Power’s Not So Funny Now Is It? If we were all to follow this edict, Power may just finally reach the popularity and acclaim which he is overdue.

Not So Funny Now Is It? is showing at Comedy Republic until 21 April