The Museum Of Comedy, Holborn, London, 15/10/2019.
Growing up in Australia in the 1970s the then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser famously said “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”, and it’s a phrase that Nick Elleray has taken to heart and lived by ever since, and which forms the central theme of Elleray’s latest full length show. Unfortunately said show is a little bit all over the place, it’s sometimes very funny but certain segments fall flat and it’s hampered by a saggy final section which sees the comic run out of steam a little.
The show starts strongly at least as Elleray opens with a daft bit about his love for lying down, before he dives back in to his past and his fondness for the music of The Rolling Stones which he and his six brothers all adored, with him having to come to terms with the fact that it’s been a long old time since they’ve released a good album. Elleray then touches on his childhood in the funniest part of the set as he talks about his mother’s desire to have a daughter and how when a girlfriend came around to the house she reacted to such an event like it was akin to a prison visit.
Fifteen minutes or so in Elleray then talks about “Toxic Nick” where he discusses how he occasionally has some un-PC thoughts. I’m sure the same applies with most people but it’s not something that particularly works and it reveals a side to him that isn’t that likeable. Fortunately it’s only a minor misstep and much better are a selection of jokes about how he’s aged and is currently suffering from Gastroenteritis, which is a large element of the show and his routine about the time he went for both a colonoscopy and endoscopy is mostly engaging and amusing.
Unfortunately the show then dips again as he talks about how his Doctor suggested taking anti-depressants to relieve his misery, but Elleray is strictly against this, tying the idea of taking them in to his belief that life shouldn’t be easy. The way he discusses it is mildly amusing but I couldn’t help but disagree with his stance on existence completely, and so struggled to find his own difficulties with life that funny when it felt that ultimately he was (at least partially) responsible for the misery he’s in.
From this point on the quality varied a lot, there were some highlights, with a great callback to his attempts to get the mouth renamed as “Funhole”, but none of it matched the material he began with, and weakest of all was a story about his considering returning to Australia which was interesting but not that funny. It’s a shame as Elleray is undoubtedly capable of crafting some very strong and likeable jokes, but if he’s going to make it in the industry he definitely needs to create a more consistently amusing show.