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Words by Angus Tonkin

There’s no doubt that you’ve already got some idea of whether you love or hate Dave Hughes—or “Hughesy!” as he is more commonly called, often with an extended nasal exclamation.

Having quit Nova FM and The Project, and seemingly retired from television altogether with the unfortunate demise of Before the Game, Hughesy has this year decided to relinquish the desk and do stand up for good. From the way he arrives on stage at the Comedy Theatre, there is almost a sigh of relief in his voice.

While he’s had his moments on TV and radio, watching him on stage is seeing a man unshackled. It’s not that his material is particularly controversial or challenging to the status quo. But on television he seems slightly uncomfortable, delivering the odd zinger from the side to an unreceptive camera. In contrast, stand-up is his bread and butter.

True to form, this year’s show is quite Pointless. However, with Hughes’s storytelling verve, even the most mundane events take on a cartoonish appeal as we see his blood pressure rise and the crowd’s cackles with it. Endearing himself to his audience with self-effacing anecdotes about life as a husband, father, C-list celebrity, interviewer, baked beans ambassador, peak-hour commuter and beset dog-owner, he knows his place on stage as surely as a time-worn groove in the living room couch.

It’s not groundbreaking, but it doesn’t need to be. He’s Hughesy, and he’s bloody hilarious.

Dave Hughes’ Pointless is on at Melbourne International Comedy Festival at the Comedy Theatre from 25 March to 20 April.