Dane Swan uncovered all the secrets in conversation with Titus O’Reily


If I told you I went to see ex-Australian footballer Dane Swan in conversation with journalistic jumping jack Titus O’Reily you’d probably distinguish the occasion as some sort of April Fools’ presser or satirical footy panel show.
You’d never envisage the event as a member of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival family, nevertheless, as they sat face-to-face at the Yarraville Club its baptism was proclaimed. Due to my cognisance of Swan’s exploits and subsequent promotional merit, I was bugged with the mental germ that the show was more economically than consumer-preferred and the image of Swan dancing away with a big fat cheque wasn’t easily quashed. Albeit, my curiosity of the narrative and love for his game went a long way to flushing the parasite.
It was always going to be stubbornly scripted and this wasn’t more evident than when Swan was accentuating his feats during the discussion. Gathering that he’d skipped his VCE exams and refused to return from schoolies when Collingwood drafted him was news to me but the way it was predictably exaggerated diluted its leverage. Stuck at the meridian of badboy-meets-goodboy he was going to sway between the two so we were inherently wedged between perceptions – his proven nice guy personality at loggerheads with his social deviousness.
A footballer by trade and a footballer by tongue, Swan was never confounding the audience with his lyricism. In this case, O’Reily was positioned as the intellectual navigator, steering Swan back on track when he wandered. Nonetheless, the journalist wasn’t always a willing shepherd and slithers of the show saw Swan stumbling to align his explanation.
Aside from the nitpicking, much of the conversation found plenty of gravity. For the most part, Swan was genuinely hilarious and understatedly frank about the oddities deriving his process. More than a barren sportsman, the Brownlow medallist has found his niche and will resonate with crowds for as long as he chooses. It wasn’t conventional stand-up and strayed from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s traditional rubric but you can’t condemn the festival for its recruiting – a boom acquisition which sold out crowds, unearthing versatility and bravado in the process.
By Tom Parker