2014 Melbourne Comedy Festival:
• Rod Quantock—Peak-A-Boo
Posted on 09 April 2014
Currently in Australia, mainstream media, corporations, and the government are in step with one another. As such it is very hard to hear alternative views or get a complete picture on what is being done to our country. We need subversive voices. Only we need more than people sitting around (or standing up) saying “ain’t it awful”.
Comedy is one of the most effective means to communicate experience, engage people’s empathy, and inspire concern, if not action. It can be used to lull people into inactivity, as with cynical humour. Cynicism breeds apathy: why bother when everything is going to hell in a handbasket anyway. But then you have people like US peace activist Wavy Gravy, US social activist Patch Adams, and Australia’s own Rod Quantock.
These are people who for decades have been brave enough to see past the illusions our societies perpetuate, raise the alarm, and then do something to create change. We aren’t living in a complete on/off situation. Things are going bad, and are going to get worse, when it comes to the economy and the environment. However, it is up to us as far as how bad. How much suffering can we avert for ourselves and others.
Quantock’s show Peak-A-Boo is beautifully structured to make an effective argument for action. He begins by telling stories from his days doing the Bus shows. These shows involved Quantock randomly leading a group of people wearing Groucho Marx masks around Melbourne. The show would regularly gatecrash weddings, graduations, and corporate affairs. These comical experiences would break down the barriers we normally put between ourselves and others, and make it possible to discover more humanity and sometimes more kindness than we realised was in the world.
These experiences are then put in stark contrast to the behaviour governments and corporations feel necessary to take when hand fulls of people simply want to be heard and end up broken and hospitalised by the use of overwhelming force. Suddenly you realise how much you care. That maybe those hand fulls of people, who are just like you, have a point and maybe we should do something.
Peak-A-Boo is an insightful show, a compassionate show, a show of exceptional relevence that young people should be crowding into, because Quantock is talking about their future. And here is a gentle voice of experience that can help them make a difference. After all these years Rod Quantock is still sharp, funny, and a man of acute social vision. Invest in your future and his show.
Peace and kindness,