It’s almost become a literary cliché that life’s rare moments of epiphany should strike in the dingiest of settings, providing poignant contrast to the purity of the idea itself. A pub bandroom, though admittedly not quite so grimy as you’d find in the works of say, Hunter S. Thompson, would surely suffice for such a moment, and indeed it was from the plinth of the John Curtin Hotel’s bandroom that a great moment of epiphany erupted from the mouth of budding comedian, Adam Knox: "Life is a lot like Zach Braff’s career".
Such a statement needn’t any greater elaboration for the pop cultural enthusiasts who demonstrably populated the audience, although it was of course provided. The acumen had already been revealed.
One of last year’s RAW comedy finalists, Adam Knox’s debut comedy festival offering is like the tapas of comedy; a taste of song here and a lick of sketch there, all sandwiched together with the unending free bread tray of comedy, stand up. There’s also a somewhat gratuitous projector thrown in, presumably as a joke in and of itself.
Although most comedy shows seem to stick a title on after the script has been thrown together merely to distinguish it from last year’s output, Knox appears have taken the opposite approach in taking a concept and working backwards. Adam Knox is All Washed Up chronicles a life and career lived in slavery to an unabashed ego and the protagonist’s ultimate, somewhat belated, downfall.
As Knox himself acknowledges during the show, his real strength is in vocal manipulation. Alternating between the cigarette lashed and careworn tones of a much older man and his more buoyant natural voice, he navigates the passage of time clearly. However, the act doesn’t extend to any particularly convincing physical manifestation of the aged character. However, there is the odd pocket of well played physical comedy, particularly when the joke concerns his poor grasp of mime. Another exception is the hysterical re-enactment of Knox’s future fragrance commercial, a dance of cue-cards which could be aptly titled au du misogyny.
The songs are clever and quite catchy in a 90s-whiny-piano-pop sort of way, and Knox certainly has a hefty command over the comedic juices of the English language. Although the ball is never really dropped, the show does lag a little toward the middle of the set. Moreover, the creases between one section and the next have yet to be ironed with the same efficacy of more seasoned comics. Nonetheless, it’s a solid first effort.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Adam Knox is All Washed Up
The John Curtin Hotel, Carlton
March 29 – April 21
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
March 28 – April 22