Review: Bruno Lucia and Rhino Room Open Mic Night

Posted on 06 July 2009

I was going to do a full-on review of Bruno Lucia’s performance on Thurday, BUT he took advantage of the open-micness of the evening and decided to trial new material. Open mics are about having the freedom to muck around and see what works without fear of failure. That sort of space is invaluable and should be considered sacred.

My reviews are meant to be an analysis from the viewpoint of a comedian learning from other comedians, rather than telling an audience what they may like. So, I will make a few comments about Bruno, then make a number of comments about the evening generally which included both beginners and a couple of our local professionals.

Bruno came on strongly with a number of well-crafted jokes that let the audience know immediately they were in experienced hands. Where he shone over the beginners, and even some of our more experienced local comedians, is how much personality he put into his humour. Jokes were funny not only because they were clever, but because he was the one telling them.

Bruno had a finely tuned persona he presented which made extensive use of his ethnicity and his gawky bald appearance. No other job calls upon people to thoroughly embrace themselves as they are and then use it as material for their career.

That same evening we had a young man Nathan Buursma perform his first ever routine. His material had potential and even managed a few laughs. He will need to spend time refining jokes and learning the tricks of the trade. However, his stage personality had a lovely confident ingenuous quality, that if he can maintain, will ensure his audience patiently watches him develop into something special.

The miracle of the night was Dave Campbell. He and I began turning up at various comedy venues in Adelaide about the same time.  He’s not just some guy standing up telling jokes. He again has brought a persona to the stage that makes him utterly unique. He gives the audience a sense that he is confiding in them and baring a bit of his soul. At this stage in their careers, I sense neither Nathan nor Dave are completely aware of how they are presenting, but it’s still working for them.

I have seen Dave’s material enough that I recognised when he fumbled and forgot part of his routine. However, he suddenly side-stepped into this story about memorising jokes while gathering shopping trolleys during his day job. The story received big laughs and gave him time to recover.  He had not just a saving line, but a whole saving story.

After the show I made sure to congratulate him on a particularly good performance. He thought he had done a terrible job, because of his lapse in memory. He was surprised to find how many people loved his story about the
shopping trolleys. The actual event had only happened that morning and he had pulled it out of thin air in a panic. He should panic more often. Bruno Lucia was chatting with him and confirmed the importance of saving lines/stories.

A couple of other notes on the night:

  1. Some performers felt certain jokes were failing them when I believe the real problem was their energy levels had sagged. Try them again when you’re feeling punchier.
  2. I’m getting tired of the saving line, “That joke’s coming out of the show.” When you’re trialling material, it’s true you may well dump something that isn’t getting laughs, but surely as professionals and aspiring professionals, we should be practising our saving lines and varying our excuses for flat humour. Some professionals are famous for their saving lines.

Peace and kindness,


1 Response to Review: Bruno Lucia and Rhino Room Open Mic Night

  • Bruno Lucia says:

    Hi Katherine,

    I would neeeeeever have come across this had I not been surfing the net to to do some research for a top U.S Agent.

    anywho… very cool – thanks for the compliment and great analysis!
    by the way – I really enjoyed the night – al the acts in there own uniqueness BUT I think the world of Dave Campbell – he is a super talent and pumped him up with all the honesty and compliments he deserved!

    all the best

    Bruno xo

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