Review – Lawrence Mooney: Like Literally

11 April 2017

Comedians are going through a tough time.

I can’t help feel that the nature of comedy is threatened as many comedians are tempted to tone down their material, so as not to offend anyone in the crowd.

Lawrence Mooney doesn’t think like that. Quite simply, the middle-aged Aussie just doesn’t care if he offends anyone. As soon as you enter his theatre, no topics are off limit.
And isn’t that how comedy should be? Isn’t the essence of comedy finding humour in topics we are frankly too scared to talk about in day-to-day conversations?

That’s part of the reason I enjoyed Lawrence Mooney’s show, Like Literally, at this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival. He lets loose.

Before the show, Mooney walked through the lobby of the Athenaeum. He asked me if I was heading to his show, I admitted I was. He thanked me for coming, hopped in the lift and was gone. He would be on stage within 15 minutes. This is one chilled out guy. If someone was offended by his show, it would be little use letting him know.

Mooney isn’t young, he laughs at his dodgy back (a lower disc issue) and the fact that he has to wear a shirt to bed, as he gets sweaty at night. He is relaxed on stage and has nothing to lose.

The show is very much about Mooney’s life. He seeks to exaggerate seemingly unfunny and mundane routines. From getting ready to go to bed, to osteopath visits for his back, to taking his dog for a walk. He teases each scene out slowly. A dramatic change of pace, often through an expletive filled tirade, has the audience panting for breath.

But Mooney is just warming up.

He smiles, sweat appearing on his forehead from the brightness of the stage lights, takes a breath and moves on.

The approachable Mooney explores an inferiority complex, still waiting for his ‘hero’ life moment, ponders why his penis no longer works like it did when he was younger and laughs about some inappropriate thoughts he had when his wife was giving birth. The unpredictable comedian finishes the show with an amusing and scarily accurate impersonation of Malcom Turnbull.

Like Literally is a chance for Mooney to look back on his life. He laughs along with the audience as he explores the unpredictable hilariousness of his own mind. As he mentions at the start of the show – it’s all about him. And he seems pretty pleased with himself. I mean, why wouldn’t you be when you’re making people laugh for a living?

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