MICF 2018 review: John Kearns doesn't go for the easy laughs
COMEDY FESTIVALJohn Kearns: Don't Worry They're Here ★★½Melbourne Town HallUntil April 22
When I first saw John Kearns here in 2014 I didn't know what to make of him. On stage wearing false teeth and a Friar Tuck wig, his absurd show involved music, sound effects and audience participation. Four years on, the wig and teeth remain, but the show takes a more narrative approach.
Kearns doesn't go for easy laughs and if you're looking for an evening of traditional stand-up, you'd best look elsewhere. Instead, he leads us on a philosophical journey, framed by a conversation with his local shopkeeper, where he takes us to look at life, death and failure.
His style is reminiscent of fellow Brit Daniel Kitson, with one key difference: Kitson can deliver big laughs when he needs to. Kearns' humour is more gentle, with chuckles coming more from his delivery of non sequiturs and asides.
Ironically, for a comedy show, there's a sadness to this performance, highlighted by the bookends of the show, involving the death of an animal at a moment of triumph.
And, with his awkward silences and meandering style, I occasionally can't help but wonder if the biggest joke in Kearns' show is on us.