Comedy Festival

Review: Neal Portenza

5 April 2016

I snuck in a few minutes late to the start of Neal Portenza’s comedy show, but even if I’d arrived perfectly on time, I doubt it would have been easier to understand exactly what was going on. Pokemon, blood rituals, Forrest Gump, horse racing and as close as you can probably go to nudity at the comedy festival without being classified as a striptease. These are all things on offer at the Melbourne comedian’s almost surreal yet hilarious hour-long show.

Portenza is a manic performer, jumping between impressions, improvisations, arguing with his sound and lighting technician, and of course, audience participation. Climbing over seats to get in amongst the crowd and picking out audience members with mascara-lined crazy eyes that I still see in my dreams at night. In the intimate backstage venue of the Melbourne Town hall there is no escape from Portenza’s madness. Don’t worry, it is actually fun. You might even get the chance to lick his chest as the lucky guy sitting in front of me found out.

I had no idea what to expect going in and left with little understanding of what it was that I had seen but I thoroughly recommend the experience. A locally-based comedian and Melbourne Uni graduate, Neal Portenza is well worth checking out.

Neal Portenza is performing until 17 April at the Melbourne Town Hall as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.