PRESS ARCHIVE

Your New Favourite Comedian ★★★★1/2

Craig McKeough, The West Australian / Yahoo Australia | Posted on February 6th, 2015

It takes a good measure of bravado to tag your show Your New Favourite Comedian. Some might see it as a sign of over-confidence on the part of English comedian Gordon Southern.

But there is no sense of hubris in the way Southern goes about his work and, after an hour in his company, you might indeed be rating him your favourite.

He explains the attention-grabbing title is a reverential reference to his favourite band, Swedish garage rockers The Hives, who in 2001, the same year Southern made his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, released an album optimistically titled Your New Favourite Band.

Southern’s show starts out as a sort of tribute to The Hives as he explains why they mean so much to him but it soon veers into more ordinary territory as he recounts stories from his youth and encounters with the “loves of his life”.

But the way he goes about his routine is anything but ordinary. Southern is a livewire, Energiser bunny on stage, bouncing from quickfire audience chat to improvised freestyle raps and back.

His interaction is genuine as he grabs the smallest of offerings from people in the audience, builds on it and returns to the subject again and again to wring as much humour as he can from it.

But none of it feels forced. Southern is a natural funny man, he has genuine warmth and charm to go with his lightning quick wit which helps him get away with what might otherwise be considered insulting putdowns of audience members. This is partly because he is also willing to turn the blowtorch back on himself.

The laughs are constant as Southern tells of his upbringing in Essex, his early jobs as a bar man and wine waiter and, later, a wine tour in South Australia where he met his future wife – number five on the list of the loves of his life. It is all great fun, so much so that when Southern suddenly changes tack and reveals the sad story of the first love of his life and how his infatuation came crashing down, it is a sobering jolt.

But this does not detract from the show. It provides some shade amid all the light and underlines that Southern may be one of the most talented comedians on the tour at the moment, but he is also willing to take some risks in his performance and reveal the human behind the funnyman.

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