So I’d never heard of Guy Montgomery. Apparently he was a host on U-late. I don’t even know what U-late is. He’s also on Cadbury Dream Factory. Again that’s not something I’m familiar with.What I’m trying to say is Guy’s already a thing. He’s got a fan base. He also does a podcast with fellow Billy T nominee Tim Batt. So even without stand-up comedy he’s a guy (ha) on the rise. However if he didn’t have all those strings in his bow I think he’d be on the rise anyway because he is a supremely gifted comic.
I only reviewed this show because Tim magnanimously asked me to. And I’m so pleased I did. It’s the best Billy T nominated show I’ve seen since Steve Wrigley destroyed all else before him a number of years ago.
Guy dances his way on stage at the beginning and based on his white-guy dance moves I thought I was going to hear a lad-comedian tell jokes about bitches and getting drunk. Instead we get the most brilliant surreal stories, meta-references to his own material, awkward pregnant pauses and an over-abundance of callbacks.
Guy does the Kiwi self-effacing thing well. We’re congratulated on making an OK choice of spending an hour with him, he downplays his own abilities and successes throughout life and it makes the crowd empathise with him. Sometimes he over-uses it as a device when it’s not necessary. He hits some real high notes with a lot of gags, then injects a self-deprecating comment in as a caveat which stifles the laughter and sometimes jars us out of his surreal world. Other times he might be too clever by half, he constantly uses call-backs to earlier stories (being aware of using a call-back and pointing it out to the crowd doesn’t make it funnier it just means you’re aware of how comedy works). But these are minor quibbles because the guy is seriously funny.
Surrealism is super hard to do. You have to first gain the audience’s trust, then bring them on an adventure with you, all the way making the crowd feel comfortable that you know what you’re doing. Guy handles this with aplomb. We accept ridiculous implausibilities as though they were part of our every day world and we fucking laugh. There was some audience interaction which got awkward because …well sometimes the audience doesn’t play along. However Guy ran with it and handled it perfectly.
I’ve always thought successful comedy can be one of two things, taking an existing idea and subverting it or doing some completely original. Unbelievably Guy manages both in the one show. It’s a rare gift and is made all the more remarkable that Guy’s not been doing stand-up that long. He does the most brilliant take on religion, that doesn’t offend a soul. In fact his whole set is mercifully free of anything remotely offensive that seems to have become hip and cool these days.
His scripting and delivery are quite unique. He uses words in a way that isn’t quite 100% natural, if you’ve watched Deadwood you’ll know what I mean. You understand perfectly what’s being said, it’s just delivered in a way that you would never do so yourself. There is also a touch of the nihilist about him, every now and again the material hints at something darker lurking below the surface and I’d love to see Guy explore this in further shows.
Basically what I’m saying is that this show is brilliant. Utterly brilliant. And if you don’t go to it, well you’re a dick. Oh and forgive the revolting pedo-mo. As my wife said, if you can get past that he’s quite a nice looking boy.