“Clean comedy”: it’s an interesting concept. Seasoned comedy show audiences will be all too familiar with the figure of the comedian who punctuates his set with ‘f-bombs’, dick jokes and ‘c-words’ in order to inject some cheap laughs into his set, sometimes to the detriment of the material. Wash Your Mouth Out presents us with a group of comedians challenging themselves to leave all the swearwords and naughty jokes at the door in an attempt to put together a show that you’d feel comfortable bringing your granny to.
Strangely, the show started a half hour later than advertised, which for a no-alcohol venue (Westpoint Performing Arts Centre in Western Springs) did leave us wondering what to do to kill the time. luckily the club football game going on next door offered an altogether different form of entertainment in the meantime.
Once the show did kick off, MC Tim Muller warmed up the crowd with his deadpan quips, puns, and even a wee musical number before introducing 2013 Raw Comedy finalist Gerard Paapu
Paapu’s long meandering stories were told with an ease, which made the audience comfortable straightaway. Disappointingly, as the whole point of the evening was that it was a ‘clean comedy’ night, he did slip up and drop a couple of ‘f-bombs’ – I imagine those audience members who had brought kids along were none-too-pleased.
Julia Holden was next, and with a faster-paced delivery she mused on the struggles she faced at school and the perils of the working world now that she is an adult. The laughs are a bit further apart, but she is endearing, and one story in particular about her Furby collection gets an appreciative response from the crowd. With a little more experience certainty in her delivery she is sure to continue on her rise in the comedy world.
Finally newcomer Dave Nicholls, the most confident of the four waxes lyrical about his experiences as a male nurse and his (unrelated) low testosterone levels. The material is a bit too familiar: making fun of fat people, acting camp etc, but delivered with sufficient gusto to keep the crowd happy.
This is the first of a series of Wash Your Mouth Out shows and it definitely needs a polish, especially in terms of the pacing of the evening – twenty minutes per act feels long – but the idea of ‘clean comedy’ has definite promise.
It’s not quite the professional comedy you might be used to, but for $11 a pop, you get to see some local talent cut their teeth on fresh audiences, and that’s something I can always get behind.