“You can tell your friends that you saw me before I was famous” Daniel Connell told the audience as he hit the stage in his debut festival show Likeable Enough. Unfortunately, recycling tired old gags like this will not be enough to shoot Connell to fame.
However ninety percent of Connell’s was the same clichéd material, the kind of jokes that other comedians go to when they want to parody the archetypal hack comedian. The pull back and reveal has never been so heartily overused and abused as it was in this show. This is a technique that only works when it’s tight and has the element of surprise. These setups had holes so big you could drive a truck through them. The premise for much of his material was unoriginal and weak in the first place and then they were overworked. These stones were bloodless already, without Connell trying to squeeze a few more drops.
For example, the Glen Iris swimming pool was named after drowned Prime Minster Harold Holt in 1969 and I’m pretty sure comedians have been pointing out the irony ever since – it’s certainly as long as I can remember and I was born in 1972. It may have been funny the first time but after forty three years this observation is really losing its bite. So you understand why my heart sank as soon as Connell started talking about a pool near his place…you can guess the rest. What’s more Connell extrapolated it out into a scene whose only purpose seemed to be to house some glaringly predictable call-backs.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel however. Some of the material that Connell produced about his childhood, such as trying to hoodwink the tooth fairy, was amusing and enlightening. And some of the apocryphal things he was told as a child which he believed showed promise as the basis of good material. He also had a couple of slightly absurd imaginings involving animals which also packed real promise.
Connell seems like a nice young guy and he did get the title of the show right at least; Daniel Connell is likeable enough. However this is a show which would struggle to pass muster at Melbourne Fringe, let alone at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Maybe if Connell lost the generic material and concentrated on developing some of his more original ideas he might be more than “likeable”.
Daniel Connell – Likeable Enough is on at Arthurs Bar on Flinders Lane