Stand-up comedian John Robles really needs a bigger venue. No, hang on, that would probably make him comfortable. Actually, it might give him more space to be himself. No, wait, way too many people – too awkward. Oh heck, a bigger venue would work so as he could hear the echoes of the audience’s laughter – that ought to make him realise just how funny he is.
For now, the small ‘Studio Startup Basement’ in which he’s residing at during Fringe will have to do.
It took me ages to find the place; down a nook in a dark laneway off the Wellington end of Barrack Street. But I got there in time to be greeted personally by the artist who pretty much puts the ‘one man’ back into ‘one man show’.
Robles (pronounced ‘ru-blay’ – it’s Mexican) is his own maitre d’ as he greets guests at the door. He is also his own MC as he introduces himself to the stage; his own DJ as he fiddles with the keys of his PC to find the perfect intro track; heck, he even hands out pens and paper to his audience members so as we can jot down any questions we might have for him to answer three-quarters through his show.
Taking the ‘Stupid’ aspect of his show’s title ‘Gay & Stupid’ to the Nth degree, Robles plays dumb very well.
But the big question is, is he a funny man?
The big answer is Yes.
Taking the ‘Stupid’ aspect of his show’s title Gay & Stupid to the Nth degree, Robles plays dumb very well. Whether he’s telling jokes about gay blonde studs, or recalling awkward coming-out scenarios from his teen years, he delivers them like a half-stoned Valley Girl. As for the word ‘literally’, he says this more times than Rob Lowe’s character does in an entire season of Parks & Recreation, and that’s a lot.
The audience at the show I went to was fairly mixed: elderly folk, Gen-Xers (including myself) and Gen-Ys all in the mix. The fact that he had each of us constantly in giggles proves that this guy is very capable of blending tricky target demographics.
And for a stupid, gay, Mexican kid who’s been postponing his Uni study for six-plus years, that’s a very clever thing to be able to do.
See this guy before the venue does get bigger, by which time you may be stuck out back and miss out on some killer punchlines and twisted but cute facial gestures. ★★★1/2
‘John Robles: Gay and Stupid’ is on at the Studio Startup Basement, just off 143 Barrack Street, Perth until February 3, 2019.
For the full Fringe World program and ticket bookings, visit www.fringeworld.com.au.