Jokes to make Love to… (Bill Egan)
The Piglet, Gluttony, Murlawirrapurka (Rymill Park)
Saturday March 5th, 10:35PM

Bill Egan is Adelaide’s very own wacky side character in all the right ways. Bursting with creativity, irony, self-awareness and wit, Egan is an emerging talent on the Adelaide comedy scene. This year he returned to the Adelaide Fringe with another solo hour titled Jokes to Make Love to… and while I can’t comment on the effectiveness of title’s implication, I can say if you love comedy then Bill Egan is the show is for you.

Slowly but surely we are witnessing a performer beginning to master his craft. Egan gives us the best of his latest material, which is lively, considerably silly, and engrosses audience members of any inclination. Indeed, possibly the funniest moment of tonight’s show was seeing Egan respond upon realising a ten year old boy had been brought along. He handled the unexpected young guest the same way he did some of the rowdier older attendees in the front row, with his own frenetic observational wit.

There is quite a bit on show in this hour, not so much a coherent narrative but simply the funniest material Egan has to offer. It’s refreshing to enjoy a show which isn’t as much a collection of personal experiences, but rather the funniest thoughts and journeys a comic is able to conceive. It’s a subtle difference, and one worth seeking out wherever possible.

For those growing weary of Covid, and every comic’s attempt to make it funny, you can find relief at Egan’s show. He thankfully stays away from the big C, although he’s not afraid to broach any other subject. Animal welfare, sexual health, international relations – sometimes all three put together – and much more are explored. Not every beat hits truly, and not every punchline finds a laugh, but when Egan gets the balance right, he is absolutely brilliant.

Egan punctuates the show with a series of quick costume changes off-stage. It is admirable that the artist is trying to keep the format fresh, but in the end these interludes only serve to halt the momentum of the show. Kudos to Egan for trying something new, but perhaps in the future a more coherent narrative thread will provide the element of sophistication he seeks.

This show is mostly the best of what Egan has to offer at this stage of his career, which is one worth following in earnest. With two Adelaide Fringe Festivals under his belt now, Egan is building towards becoming an exceptional performer, one who should continue to pour all his erratic and unique energy into his performances. Egan’s solo run has now concluded for the festival, but you will no doubt see him as a guest on other stages for the rest of the season, and consistently headlining Adelaide comedy in the year to come. If you see Bill’s name on the bill, give him your time and you won’t regret it.

– Nick Harris

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