Reviewed by Lisa Clark
Despite the blurb for the show, which makes it sound like Kit Richards is coming to burn down all her bridges, don’t expect Kit to spill the dirt, she makes it very clear from the beginning that she will not be naming names but she is going to share how a comedian broke her heart and made her quit comedy.
That’s the first curiosity of the show, how can she say that she had to quit comedy when here she is in her 3rd Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show in a row? We only find out much much later that the heartbreak happened 7 years ago, and judging by the tears, although she felt ready to return to the stage generally, she might not be quite ready to create an amusing show out of it.
Kit’s previous shows have been enjoyably quirky and certainly covered a lot of darkness and light about Australian Colonial History and Scandals in Australian sport. They also displayed her talent at song writing, singing and storytelling. It’s the storytelling element that is disappointingly deficient in this year’s show.
At some point early on, she stops and says how she shouldn’t be getting so dark so early in the show (no please do get dark Kit!). The inference is that she will reveal all about the darkness later in the hour. The problem is, she never really delivers. She complains about being badly treated by her ex but also flips it by saying she wants to make it very clear that he didn’t treat her that badly…. which leaves the audience somewhat confused.
It feels like Kit is tip toeing around what this show should be about, so it becomes really hard for the audience to invest, or believe that she is ready to share her experience in a meaningful way. In other news she has a bit of a blog online, that goes into much more depth about everything. You might want to read it to make sense of the show. Or before you go to the show.
Most of the songs are enjoyable, often with witty lyrics about topics such as “Everybody Bombs” (on stage) and the shrewd irony of “Comedy’s not meant for Girls”. I love her poppy style that sets her apart from traditional cabaret or musical comedy, but it needs more theatricality and an over arching story that makes clear sense. The Nicest Guy in Comedy feels more like a concert performance of a breakup album than a laugh out loud storytelling comedy show. The video clips add to the impression.
Kit’s finale is a heartfelt cry from her gut that the culture must change to make the comedy world a safer, kinder place. It’s genuinely moving and no one can disagree with her. If only the show was searingly funny or coherent enough to carry it all off. The vibe is melancholy rather than ferocious and The Nicest Guy in Comedy is recommended to punters who’ve recently had their hearts brutally broken, are looking to share some venting and don’t mind that it isn’t a joke fest.
Kit Richards performs The Nicest Guy in Comedy at Trades Hall til Apr 10