Adelaide Comedy Debate Review

I went to see the Annual Comedy Debate as part of the Adelaide Fringe and asked the arts editor at the Advertiser whether anyone was reviewing the show for the paper. They were keen to fill space and so I wrote and edited this within around half an hour. It was published next to a giant picture of comedian Rob Hunter, and so the review took up almost an entire page of Adelaide’s major news source. Here is the original article from the Advertiser’s website, or you can read below.

In keeping with the apocalyptic nature of 2012, the fifth annual Comedy Debate posed the question – can comedy save the world from the apocalypse?

Lindsay Webb, Greg Fleet, Felicity Ward and the UK’s Gordon Southern were fighting on the side of comedy, while local boys Justin Hamilton, Jon Brooks, Rob Hunter and Mickey D believed laughter was not the best medicine in the face of eternal damnation.

Moderator Jason Pestell kicked things off with some crowd participation and Clipsal jokes, and you wish the debaters had coordinated on Clipsal references as they seemed to form a major part of both team’s arguments.

Captains Webb and Hamilton had the strongest ties to the topic, and as the evening went on the relevance to the debate faded away.

This was not a bad thing, with Rob Hunter the funniest performer of the night despite a lack of debating skills.

His constant attacks on the opposition were hilarious and merciless, with Gordon Southern his biggest target.

At two-and-a-half hours the show was too long and most speakers ran out of steam before their closing statements.

Those on stage seemed to be having the most fun, with many in-jokes and obscure references that the audience didn’t understand.

With crowd cheers for both sides equal, Hunter and Southern faced off for a round of scissors, paper, rock to decide the outcome, which the negative team won.

Many comedians on the bill are performing over the next two weeks, so the debate was a great way to find a new favourite to catch before Fringe is out.

Should we make it to 2013, the sixth comedy debate will be worth a look although a tougher moderator could keep things moving quickly.