After a brief DIY intro to hype the crowd over the PA, Wil Anderson moseyed up to centre-stage, adjusted his mic, and suddenly jumped, frightened by the movement of a front row punter sliding beers towards his feet as a gift. Quickly composing himself, Anderson beamed with appreciation and cracked one open before starting the show: “it’d be rude not to!”

Standing upon a stage back-dropped by a fiery psychedelic banner straight out of Dante’s Inferno, Anderson was dressed like a 24 year-old new-wave hipster (no hate). He carried himself with the breezy confidence of a veteran high-school PE teacher mixed with the enthusiastic friendliness of a pre-primary teacher.

His interaction with the crowd was outstanding, and he spent a large portion of the beginning of his set working the room with one of the best stage presences I’ve seen in comedy. If you have watched Anderson on his ABC television show The Gruen Transfer, you would know how sharp his wit is. He demonstrated this with a charm and good nature which was unexpectedly fluid and genuine. The Adam Hills look-alike (of which he was painfully aware) maintained an extremely high level of energy throughout the show, keeping the audience wrapped up in his every word. Anderson spoke rapidly but with purposeful clarity.

As he himself explained, the show Fire at Wil is only touring Australia, and therefore has a more self-reflective, societal focus than his previous intercontinental tours. The show is predominantly political and, when combined with Anderson’s centralised-leftist perspective, you might expect that a large portion of the audience would leave the show feeling ostracised for their views. This was not the case: Anderson’s incredibly earnest approach and animated storytelling proved for a unique and dynamic show. He provided quality knee-slappers, caused tears of laughter, and left me with an uplifted sense of Australian pride. Provided we discount climate change from the equation, I felt optimistic about our nation’s progression into the modern world.

Anderson has decided to use his platform to voice his opinion on what he believes is important, and he accomplishes this without sacrificing one laugh. I would definitely recommend seeing Fire at Wil, never has comedy looked so effortless and been so easy to enjoy.

Words by Monty Lloyd

Wil Anderson was in Perth for three nights as part of the ongoing Perth Comedy Festival.

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