Optimistic and Exuberant [by Matt Baker]
The human condition is a universal concept, one which art helps us to understand. The human experience, however, can be much more personal and potentially humourous. It’s an incredibly broad topic, so comedian Tim Batt has narrowed his show’s narrative down to a significant period of his life: post break-up. It’s not an inherently hilarious one, even though it begins with a classic comedy movie trope, so Batt delves into specific detail as opposed to grand ideas to mine the comedic gold buried within. The result, however, is that any attempt to reinforce the idea of a narrative holding the jokes together feels forced. The idea behind the use of the megaphone prop is brilliant and certainly helps in that regard, but is, unfortunately, very underutilised.
Batt’s reactive opinions are on par with George Carlin and Bill Hicks, but the aggression of these late comics is replaced with a youthful and almost optimistic exuberance, which allows the material to be more accessible to a mainstream audience. Even with his obvious social and political preferences, Batt is quick to acknowledge his audience and prevent any preconceived responses kicking in. It’s actually a shame that no one is (or at least fesses up to being) one of the subjects of his material, because it’s clear that Batt enjoys engaging with his audience as much as performing for them.
The last third of the show picks up, as Batt gears into his signature monologic denunciations. Time constraints on preview night, however, mean that the full extent of the material cannot be fully addressed, which limits the audience’s chance to experience the full ethos of Batt’s style of comedy. This, however, is a minor issue, that can be easily fixed to allow the rest of Batt’s comedy festival audiences an insight into this unique young comedian’s thoughts on the human experience.
Tim Batt Explores The Human Experience plays as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2015 at Montecristo until May 16. For details see Comedy Festival.