Words by Kevin Hawkins
If Luke Heggie was the type of person who played amateur football—and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was—he’d be the kind of player who sits at forward pocket, and spends the whole game sledging his direct opponent. Occasionally, he’d pop up to kick the odd goal, but his true value to the team would be after the day’s play, when he unleashes a long list of cynical observations about the opposition.
In many regards, Heggie’s comedy festival show Bush Week is itself a long list of cynical observations about a life’s worth of opponents. And by opponents, I mean people that get on Heggie’s nerves.
Over the course of his one-hour show, Heggie directs insults towards wanky tourists, bogan Australians, and his older brother. Many of the jokes—particularly those involving gender stereotypes—aren’t particularly original, but they’re nevertheless funny enough to generate laughs. Indeed, on the opening night, there were at least 10 audience members—albeit, 10 middle-aged women—who rewarded every one of Heggie’s gags with a loud cackle.
While the majority of Heggie’s stories work as isolated anecdotes, he does well to regularly return the conversation to his travel stories. Heggie takes the audience into his cheap backpacker accommodation, and introduces them to some of the more colourful characters from his journey. Next thing you know, he’s having a rant about asbestos-free egg, or sharing his all-time greatest pranks. But without fail, Heggie is focused enough to return the narrative back to his hostel, providing some structure to a set that could otherwise be mistaken for a stream-of-consciousness dialogue.
Heggie brings his set to a close by performing a musical number with a stringed instrument from his travels. It’s an unusual conclusion, especially given that his singing quality is not sensational, nor humorous, but somewhere in between. Nevertheless, the song—along with a set of good one-liners—gives the show a nice bit of closure.
Luke Heggie is performing Bush Week at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 27 March to 20 April.