Emma Holland: Here Comes Mr. Forehead

By Lisa Clark

As we enter the room, we are welcomed by a chirpy, friendly Emma Holland doing circles on the stage on an electric scooter with a toy monkey attached to her helmet while behind her on the big screen a real monkey rides a large dog, herding goats, from a video titled “Most Disrespectful Moments in Football”. Strap in.

Silly and sardonic, Emma is a gagmeister and this show is choc full to the brim with juicy gags, tomfoolery and wisecracks. She sets ’em up with precision, knocks ’em into the goal and the payoffs aren’t always immediate. Still, in amongst the sight gags, songs about Moby, props, PowerPoint silliness she has some solid domestic standup relating to recently getting married, though she cannot help but put her theatrical style into it. She proves that she is also great at telling stories, though this is not a “storytelling” sort of show per se. She’s not going to make you cry or take you on a long heartbreaking journey but we still learn some really interesting stuff about her life and childhood.

Emma’s comedy does not appear to be political, but she makes it clear where she stands, so in amongst all the silliness when she says something political once or twice it can really make the audience gasp as they laugh. Her feminism is not hitting you over the head, it’s just there, adding strength to some of her funniest bits.

There is a LOT of tech in this show (ACMI is the best spot for this) and it runs beautifully but there is a vibe that if the power were to fail her, Emma could give us a fantastic hour of comedy without it. So polished is the show, that Emma seems relaxed and able to muck around going off on a tangent to chat with a friend in the crowd, keeping it funny and making this a unique night for us.

Emma Holland has been doing comedy, mostly in Brisbane, for a few years now and was runner up in RAW 2018. She writes for TV and sometimes appears on the shows she writes for, such as Have Your Been Paying Attention and more importantly for me, co-hosting The Cheap Seats with Melanie Bracewell proving that two women can host a TV comedy show successfully and the world doesn’t explode.

As I’ve not seen Emma develop gradually in small rooms, she wows me as a confident, fully formed comedian and her show is bloody wonderful. Having been noticed and employed by Working Dog means I shouldn’t be surprised that she is very talented, but Here Comes Mr. Forehead really blew me away. Emma Holland is a new star in the making.

Here Comes Mr. Forehead is on at ACMI until April 21