Wil Anderson and The Arkaba

Posted on 03 June 2009

The Arkaba

Craig Egan and Adelaide Comedy have only recently opened the Arkaba Hotel as a comedy venue.  I like this venue the best of any I have visited in Adelaide. The place is clean, well-kept, with good lighting and good acoustics. The seating has a nice open feeling and ensures that all audience members can easily see and hear performers. I have to admit that I don’t find much glamour in seedy comedy dives and this is a refreshing change.

Ben Darsow

The evening began with several warm-up acts and one very talented MC: Ben Darsow. I have enjoyed Ben’s performances at the Rhino Room. His delivery is engaging and natural. He get’s along well with the audience. His humour has a nice up-bounce to it which keeps him a welcome presence on the stage for lengthy performances.

Having seen Ben before I had an idea of what to expect. What came as a pleasant surprise was how much stronger his performance was last night. I don’t know if it was the night, the audience, or just coming back from the Melbourne
International Comedy Festival, but he presented with such a confident and professional energy, the whole room felt they were in safe hands.

Ben Darsow is so ready to do significant work on radio and television. I suggest people keep an eye on him.

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks and I have competed together at Raw Comedy. He’s another up-and-comer. In previous performances I have seen him play around with more “edgy” humour. Even so a warm jocularity infused his material, giving it a playful character.

Last night he chose to flow more with his avuncular qualities and charm the audience. He was completely successful. The audience loved him. Later I learned this was entirely new material. Brave man. And in this case a wise choice. I want to see him in his own show next Adelaide Fringe and I want to hear about him touring other cities. He’s ready for some big success.

Fabien Clark

Fabien Clark’s humour about families and children is a refreshing change. Oh he still brings an edge to it, but a fond and funny one. His story about taking his little boy to kids footy in order to “toughen him up” was a side-splitter.

Our culture puts so much emphasis on youth culture (either you’re there or you wish you were there) that other stages of life sometimes don’t get much of a look in. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the funny side of Fabien’s life.

Wil Anderson

Wil Anderson was of course the headliner. Former host of TV show The Glass House and current host of The Gruen Transfer, he’s a seasoned performer. That experience and verve were clear when he easily delivered an hour and twenty minute performance when we were all expecting forty minutes. The time went by without anyone noticing.

Wil reminds me of a young Billy Connolly: high energy, saucy, and politically engaged. He has a lot to give and a lot to say, and everyone was happy to hear it.  I enjoyed it when he let his hair down and went for one controversial topic after another such as abortion, federal policy, and the behaviour of religious pundits.

One point of concern with Wil’s performance.

I have watched comedians do a gig with a glass of beer or some sort of spirit next to them. Wil walked up with two glasses of spirits, then had another two  during the course of his act. As the evening wore on, it became difficult
to understand what he was saying, he stopped connecting with the audience because he had lost eye-contact/focus, and the humour started picking up a mean quality.

Wil Anderson is a very talented man. I can recommend his show. Could someone make sure to water-down his booze?

Peace and kindness,


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