Cal Wilson, a fiery haired kiwi comedian is back for the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival for her show Gifted Underachiever. She has become a voice for the forty something year olds of the world, particularly since filming her recent Netflix special.
The venue, although pokey, is packed with her exact demographic. I am seated in front of a particularly appreciative man who guffaws loudly throughout, and this is truly representative of the audience as a whole. Wilson hits some key parts of middle age; parenthood, married life and attempting to master technology, which really hit home for this audience. Unfortunately as someone in their early twenties, I am not really part the age demographic she is searching for.
Whilst everyone else is lost in hysterics, all I can think about is how old that dick pick material is getting. As much as I love a surface level, un-dissected and overdone joke about causal sexual harassment online, maybe it’s time to put that material to bed. Wilson uses the dating app Tinder to spark her dick pick centred routine, and how her friends are constantly getting unsolicited photos online. Except those of us actually familiar with the app know users can’t actually send photos. The feature was removed in 2015. Although it is a classic comedian method to create fictional stories to get laughs, or to spruce up their own experiences with some jazzy details to make their anecdotes more appealing, this annoys me. It’s under researched and nothing we haven’t all heard before.
However I am clearly the only one in the audience with this opinion. This kind of generational comedy may not be something I can relate to, but the crowd is absolutely loving it. As Wilson complains about retail assistants not doing their job, the struggles of sexting for the first time and how patient her husband is when she talks in movies, the audience nods along appreciatively. Although there is no real structure to the show, we do get a strong sense of who she is and what kind of life she leads. She comes across as a wonderful human. Friendly, lovely and a great mum. But for me this isn’t really enough. I feel like the time when comedians came onstage and whinged for an hour is over. I have seen so much comedy this festival that has been dynamic, subversive and meaningful, so much more than a string of unrelated anecdotes.
Cal Wilson is funny. If you are looking for a light outing at the comedy festival to forget about daily life and just relax into the comedy world, this show is the perfect fit. But if you are looking for something a bit more challenging and engaging, perhaps you are better off searching elsewhere.
Gifted Underachiever by Cal Wilson runs at The Victoria Hotel in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 28 March — 21 April 2019.