Brendon Burns (3 stars)

This article is from 2008

Brendon Burns

Award winner is back and still pretty angry

What do you get when you take an aggressive Aussie comic with a history of psychosis, substance abuse and vitriolic rants about every sector of humanity and award him the if.comeddie main award? Gladiator costumes, Schwarzenegger impressions and a celebratory show that throws everything and a bucket of frogs at the audience, that's what.

Brendon Burns calls this his 'fuck you' show and dispenses with high-concept narratives to indiscriminately pillory every minority, majority and everything in between while dressed like something out of Conan the Barbarian. His award-winning show last year rested on the line between jokes and persecution with the audience forced to examine their complicity in the matter. This year he claims to have thrown all sermonising out the window, piling up the obscenities until at one point he's just screaming one line over and over. This is rage comedy, as cathartic for both parties involved, and, incidentally, mostly very funny.

Yet there is method to the apparent madness. This is what happens when a raw, uncompromising and didactic comedian is given mainstream acceptance: he is inadvertently tamed. Sitting in the massive Assembly Ballroom, the audience is granted anonymity by their numbers; skirting round the edge of danger they watch smugly and complicit from their seats. The most interesting moment comes when the audience suddenly winces, finally reaching the topic they feel is beyond the pale. Tonight it's Princess Di. This could be dismissed as an angry man shaking his fist at the world but, despite his protestations that this show is all about him, Brendon Burns is still teaching us more about ourselves.

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 24 Aug (not 11, 18), 8.55pm, £14–£16 (£13–£15).

Brendon Burns

  • 3 stars

More rage comedy from Burns, which claims to have thrown out the 'sermonising' of last year's show and instead focuses on audience-shocking and rants.

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