Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The Psychology of Laughter
Rhino Room
9:45pm til March 3

Mr Dave Callan is the quintessential Adelaide Fringe performer. He comes to Adelaide each year does his own always excellent show, then turns up everywhere there is to turn up. Rhino Late Show, Chopper Late Night, Comedy Gala, Imaan's Bigger Than Jesus, Comic Strip plus this year he is a part of the Burlesque Beauties show Mostly Glitter & Girls show (I suspect he is the reason it's not just called Totally Glitter & Girls). He's like an omni-present comedy Jesus, but with better jokes. Which is all the better for us. He is one of the most likeable stand-up's on the planet. He doesn't do nasty material and doesn't treat his audience like idiots. Last year he did a show in Edinburgh and while he was there he stumbled across a book from 1913 called The Psychology of Laughter. That book and the 'wisdom' contained therein were so disturbing they have become the backbone of Callan's new show. Some of 'psychology' involved makes sense and is insightful, but great chunks of it's pages are crammed with the kind of blatantly racist and sexist jokes that Dave is the polar opposite of. In his skillful hands he uses the sheer inappropriateness of this work to turn the ridicule on the book itself. Some of the contents so offensive he actually spat tea all over a particularly off colour page. There is a great section where he compares how things were 100 years ago to how they are now. It's extremely funny and has the audience in stitches. Partly the show is a semi-deconstruction of what makes people laugh, mostly it is a show to make people laugh a great deal. The run has sold extremely well and finishes this weekend get there if you can.

Ian Bell

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