If you are young, you may not believe that there was a time when comedian Dave Hughes was really funny. I know it’s far-fetched, but back in the ancient ’90s when I still had the use of my ovaries, this guy wilfully performed a version of indolent Aussie bloke-dom that made us laugh quite well. When Dave was kicked off the dole and into the antiseptic vacuum of breakfast radio, his charm was killed on contact. Or, perhaps it just travelled to the person of Luke Heggie where it has aged exceptionally well.
Tbh, I have a thing about Aussie-bloke humour. Having been raised and employed in its company, my resistance to it has grown. And so, it was with this unlucky prejudice that I sat before a man who began to talk about beer and brawls with such pugnacious charm that I challenged my immunity and was handsomely rewarded.
Gracious, but Heggie is marvellous. He is so marvellous that I think his reproduction with the only other truly marvellous performer I have thus far seen at the Festival, Anne Edmonds, should be legally mandated. Together, they could have luckless, sad and hilarious children who will emerge from their grimy test-tubes to roast the dead soul of the white Australian at an unhappy barbecue where cups of warm beer filled with the tears of colonial regret is exclusively served.
This is Hughes grown to full potential by virtue, perhaps in part, of limited career success. But, I imagine this lull shan’t last. This reconstructed bloke has on his side talent, exquisite material and the great yearning white, male Australian audiences have to understand the passing of their primacy explained with wit and skill.
Go and see him. I truly believe you shan’t be sorry.