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Is Stef Jaric Melbourne’s most underappreciated comic?

It requires a particular type of courage to mount the stage in front of a crowd of thousands.  

It may require an even more particular type of courage to stand up in front of an almost totally empty venue.  On Saturday, Stef Jaric gamely performed for an audience of two – including the author – which was a pity, because Jaric’s routines were remarkably solid.

Jaric appeared at the Magnet Galleries, a clean and somewhat sombre space that seemed almost scientifically calculated to stifle any attempt at blokey humour.  Jaric’s energetic banter rested on those bulwarks of masculine comedy: airlines, food, farts and wives.  Jaric avoided pandering while gliding over topical topics like Melbourne’s loss of the “most livable city” title to Vienna and the gang crisis.  (You can always tell a gang, Jaric asserts, by the presence of nearby Herald Sun photographers.)

Male Melbourne comics are inevitably chummy bogans or self-deprecating hipsters.  Jaric, a Frankston native, is, thankfully, the former.  He received his bogan certification from Centrelink, he tells us, and spends his time helping his Frankston mates steal cars and TVs while avoiding occasional Hitchcock-style attacks by ducks.  Some routines seemed designed to trigger Melbourne audiences: for instance, Jaric’s scheme for having the world’s remaining pandas rounded up and served as McDonald’s Panda Brekkie Wraps, possibly with a bamboo garnish.  Jaric’s ability to energise what was basically an empty room was undeniably impressive.

Why is Jaric overlooked while more woke, but less amusing, comedians seem reliably able to pull in at least a few dozen punters?  Is Jaric just in need of a gimmick to distinguish himself from the crowds of other matey everyman comics?  I don’t know. Perhaps he can explain it to us at his next show.