Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017: Debbie Zukerman – The Gonzo Hour

What appears a simple show, presented by a lady in a yellow raincoat who smiles a lot, Debbie Zukerman’s The Gonzo Hour, evolves into a commentary on group behaviour, nationalism, and the dangers of being human. There are lots of laughs though. Mainly at ourselves.

This set has all the standard features of clowning. A late start. Missed cues. Attempts to bond with her audience. Moon-like facial expressions followed by meaningless laughter. Ridiculous outfits.

As with all great absurdism, there is no grand theme to the show. It was a series of small, engaging, acts that eventuated in us looking (and acting) like fools.

A skilled and extensively-trained clown, Zukerman had us laughing from at her babyface, where she encouraged us to deceive her foil, The Professor, by secreting her propbox, which we duly did. She even provided the lines we’d use when she asked of its whereabouts, rehearsing us in our lies.

She acrobatically employs her body as tool for entertainment, using robot-arms, plunge-lunging, and hindi-squats in high-heel boots. Her backwards slapstick bow, contorting almost to the floor, had me laughing like a fool because she kept a straight face the whole time. It’s deliciously cleverly-crafted and executed.

As finale, Zukerman dons a gold paper ‘crown’ and breaks into a rap about ‘getting serious, getting real’. We chant along, as if at a rally, throwing fake flowers at her. She has a laughing ’til we cried. Literally, with fake tears she showered us with!

This show is out-of-the-ordinary of word-centric, stand up, comedy fare and often doesn’t make sense. But it’s a unique clown experience that gives a top lesson in idiocy. A show for our times.

– Sarah
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold and non-traditional performance platforms. On the street or in the box seat, she looks for quality works that push the envelope.

The Gonzo Hour runs 18–22 April 2017, 5.30pm (45 mins) at Tasma Terrace. Purchase tickets now. The venue is not accessible.

Read The Plus Ones’ guide to MICF 2017, and visit often to see all our reviews.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of The Choo Choo Troupe.
Image credit: Melbourne International Comedy Festival.