Paul Ego: Comedy Festival Review
Ah, the Comeback tour.
The Paul Ego Comeback Special is the comedian's first return to the stage in 9 years.
The stage has his surname in giant Hollywoodesque letters and starts with Rhys Darby (not in person) announcing Ego's arrival back in the live comedy arena.
Part Vegas lounge act, part getting old man, The Paul Ego Comeback Special is a gentle night's entertainment - Paul won the Billy T award back in the early days and now he's come back - because he was recently asked "if he used to be a comedian."
Unlike the majority of the shows at this year's NZ International Comedy Festival, this is more about an experience - and there are even glitter ball effects and songs thrown in.
Ego's comedy is a gentle comedy; a comedy of self effacing recognition - not at raging disgracefully against the machine as you get older, but railing against yourself as you realise what you're becoming.(Mainly like your dad in Paul's case)
There's an autobiographical theme prevalent in the show - and while it's probably fair to say Ego's more of a raconteur than a full on comedian, he still has a way of subverting where you think he's going with the punchline thanks to some astute word play.
That said, he still has a vicious sharp wit in him - a throwaway comment about Tony Veitch (quite the target at various shows this year) shows he's still got an edge about him.
It's always interesting to see a comedian outside of opening night, when the venues aren't quite as full as they should be - as far as I'm concerned it's the mark of a great comedian who can hold the attention of a smaller audience.
Ego had an easy rapport with those of us who ventured out and
there was a fair few nodding heads as he recounted problems with
the gym, the whole Jesus and Star Wars issue and being a
father of young boys.
Perhaps the most personal moment in the show came when Ego recounted the time his wife suffered a heart attack at the age of 30 - it was here that Ego nicely deconstructed the idea of the Kiwi bloke and showed what a genuinely, loving and compassionate man he is when it comes to family.
But that moment was shattered when he closed the set straight
after with a rock song which you would think would be about
facing the loss of his beloved - but again, thanks to his style
of comedy sleight of hand took us in another direction.
The songs scattered throughout the hour long set (and with a mirrorball effect as well) show he's got real potential as a crooner - and I'm half expecting Paul Ego - The Lounge Lizard Album which I reckon should be along sometime soon.
After 9 years away from the solo festival circuit, it's always nice to see an old fart (Paul's words, not mine) - and his viewpoint - return.
The Paul Ego Comeback Special runs until the 16th
of May at the Crunchie Comedy Chamber in Auckland Town Hall.