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Three Wise Men deliver gold, frankincense and mirth to MICF

4 / 5. 

Fans sticking to the big-name acts at MICF will miss a few rough diamonds, like these three irreverent Wise Men. Appearing at the Vault Theatre, a well-hidden venue done up like a Belle Époque nightclub, comedians Tim McIntyre, Adam Samuel and Jake Freeman delivered a chatty yet tightly-constructed set that didn’t waste time on gimmickry.

First onstage was Laugh Factory veteran McIntyre, whose low-key style breathed life into standard routines about a battle of the sexes between the comic and his girlfriend. McIntyre’s strongest moments came when he went off-script in pithy back-and-forths with audience members. Concluding his 20-minute set was an anecdote about meeting Dennis Rodman and facing the excruciating task of convincing Rodman that Blacktown, New South Wales, was a real place. McIntyre’s laconic interpretation helped keep even his edgier material firmly grounded.

Next came Samuel with mile-a-minute routines focused on parenting and the technical difficulty of conceiving kids in a same-sex relationship. More physical and tightly scripted, Samuel unpacked elaborate anecdotes about posh primary colleges and altercations in aeroplane toilets as the room smiled on in bewilderment. Samuel was more willing than his colleagues to go off-colour in tackling the hard questions – for instance, does being excommunicated from Judaism mean you have to put your foreskin back on?

The final magus onstage was guerilla YouTuber Jake Freeman, a high-strung comic with a faux-disorganised style reminiscent of Jeff Goldblum. Freeman’s material ranged from KFC to his own partial blindness to the nuances of cinema – how does James Bond always manage to dodge the bullet in the opening gun-barrel sequence? Though his pacing was at times inconsistent, Freeman got the loudest laughs of the evening with riffs on Aussie traditions like forcing American visitors to try Vegemite.

Visitors to this overlooked MICF show may find that good things really do come in threes.