Matt Harvey is a stand-up comedian. He also has a retail job that also involves fending-off children (he conspicuously evaded attempts to clarify exactly how he makes a living). Above all, he is white. Just look at his name – Matt. Harvey. It’s as white as it gets. Oh, he is also ginger. Which is the highest rank on the white-spectrum. Being a white millennial in 2017 comes with a fair share of guilt and privilege, the overarching theme of Matt’s new show ‘The Face of Gentrification & Other Ideas’.
Exploring his existential musings on his place in the world, Melbourne-local Matt lends his keen insights into a range of quotidian topics that we are immersed in. Other than his humorous but also fresh observations on topics that range from karma to The Wiggles, he comes off as disarmingly genuine as Matt really seems to helplessly struggle with privilege guilt and cultural appropriation. It is a sensitivity to political correctness that shapes his material and delivery that you don’t see much at the MICF.
One example is his anecdote describing struggling to respond to the displays of affection from the kids he works with by making sure there is no possibility that he could be even seen as behaving inappropriately. We laugh, at the delivery and in part at his unease in exploring the topic. In his defence, he has been mixed-up with some unfounded accusations. Twice. It is a funny story,I promise. We also find out how The Wiggles made it through years in the industry without a hint of scandal.
Where Matt really comes into his element is when he doesn’t hold back in his opinions. A strong closing bit where he arguably tackles safer ground – porn, drugs and other addictions. Matt invites us to celebrate our vices, and then convincingly arguing at how superior a drug habit or porn habit is to smoking (cigarettes). We left laughing, and also wiser about our place in the world.
Christian G. is an international man of mystery; lover of books, cats and the performing arts; moonlighting as a finance professional by day.
Matt Harvey The Face of Gentrification & Other Ideas runs 17 – 23 April at The Tuxedo Cat. The venue is accessible. Buy tickets online.