Words by Declan Mulcahy
Paul Foot is undeniably a very silly man. His unique brand of humour is a manically spurted blend of surreal anecdotes and pertinent wit. Not to mention his downright bizarre haircut. In his current show, Words, he spends around an hour taking an entranced audience on an entertaining, and sometimes uncomfortable, journey through a cavalcade of offbeat observations. Scarcely stopping for breath, he details scenes of social absurdity, blurts out seemingly random word pairings and dictates some of his famous ‘disturbances’.
Admittedly, this cocktail of English sardonicism and otherworldly mannerisms won’t be enjoyed by everyone, particularly those seeking traditional setup-punchline comedy. But despite his unorthodox approach to humour, the master of the absurd manages to achieve something few other comics can—a sense of spontaneity and a strong connection with his audience. Regardless of how much of Words is actually scripted, every outlandish remark feels entirely off the cuff, as if the whole show is really just a direct insight into the comedian’s unusual mind.
Combined with his genuinely improvised responses to the audience, Paul Foot’s honest delivery style makes it feel like you’re not really watching a performance at all—instead, you’re simply spending the evening with a very funny (albeit somewhat insane) old friend.
Paul Foot’s Words is on at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival at the Hi-fi Bar until 20 April.