UTG Review @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Alex Williamson – ‘Dumb Things I’ve Done’

alex williamson

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: Alex Williamson
Show: Dumb Things I’ve Done
Venue: The Athenaeum Theatre

Over the course of the last seven years, Alex ‘Shooter’ Williamson has developed from brash comedic upstart to a multi-talented, verifiable YouTube sensation. With more than 35 million views and more than 370,000 people who have signed up as subscribers to his YouTube channel, as well as over 575,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, Alex has been able to cash in on that popularity and create opportunities for himself, including stints at LA’s The Hot Hits Live, regular commercial radio gigs and landing the lead role in an upcoming comedy feature, Me & Me Mates Vs. The Zombie Apocalypse. Suffice to say, the multi-talented lad dubbed ‘The Loosest Aussie Ever’ is on a hot streak, and if the sold-out signs going up outside of his latest stand-up show, Dumb, Things I’ve Done, are anything to go by, it’s a hot streak that shows no signs of abating.

The follow-up to 2012’s Alex Williamson and Friends–which saw Alex take his YouTube characters and compositions to the stages of packed rooms across the globe–Dumb Things I’ve Done finds Alex reflecting on some of the less intelligent decisions he has made throughout the course of his whirlwind rise to the top, interspersed with the songs and character work that helped him achieve that success.

From the opening moments of the show, it is clear that Williamson is in a rather hyperactive mood. As he rattles through a frantic opening ten minutes of crude yet undeniably funny anecdotes and observations, the audience is in a state of continuous hysterics, as Williamson provides his unique insight on topics as risque as class-A narcotics, pedophilia, sexual conquests and a particularly funny take on Australian reactions to terrorist attacks. As he takes to the guitar for the first time to perform a song upon the rather delicate subject of ‘watching too much pornography as a child’ it becomes clear that this is a man who has no concept of boundaries, a fact that will serve as both a blessing and a curse as the show continues.

Following this song with a hilarious discussion about his teenage fondness of masturbating while watching Pokémon and a series of tales of drug-fueled misadventures, Williamson appears to have hit his stride with the audience (mostly consisting of male, 18-24 year olds) responding well to each new topic, and as he takes to the guitar to perform a classic track about the art of ‘hunting for cougars at a local bar,’ it appears we are all in for a wonderful night.

Unfortunately, this song proves to be the sound of the performance hitting its peak and from this moment onward the lack of variation in his material and an apparent drop-off in energy and enthusiasm leads to a somewhat lackluster end to the evening.

There is no denying Williamson is a dynamite talent when it comes to the shorter format his YouTube material follows, and that with his trademark Australian delivery, quick wit and obvious connection to his audience, he possesses all the hallmarks required to be a great stand-up performer. He just isn’t there yet, and as a result, the show struggled at times to hold my interest and by the looks of things, the interest of some of the other older members of the audience as well. Perhaps it’s a matter of a generational gap, because the ‘kids’ seemed to be in raptures all the way to the end.

Williamson’s brand of humor is definitely an acquired taste, and if you’ve acquired that taste, then by all means attend this show — you’ll love it. But for mine, the pacing issues and the lack of variation in topic led to an experience akin to drinking one of the ‘alcho-pops’ he riffs on midway through the show; a fast, fun-filled, sugary ride, followed by a deflating crash. Having said that, Williamson remains one of the world’s most promising comedic talents and I look forward to seeing what the act becomes given a few more years to mature.

SCORE: 3/5
Alex Williamson’s ‘Dumb Things I’ve Done’ is now on at The Athenaeum Theatre. A full list of dates and ticket details can be found here.

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