Wil Anderson shines as one of Australia's brightest talents in 'Critically Wil'


The first rule of going to comedy shows is to not, no matter what, walk in late. Asbestos surveyor Mark obviously didn’t get the memo. Honestly, neither did I, but I was better at getting to my seat quickly, looking boring enough not to get called out. Sorry Mark.
By now, Wil Anderson has well and truly earned the title of Melbourne International Comedy Festival veteran. And in his 22nd year on the lineup he seems more confident than ever. Cynicism is the flavour of the night, and in true Anderson style, once he gets into rant-mode, there isn’t a damn thing that can stop him.
Politics and global issues have always been a big part of Anderson’s repertoire, but in Critically Wil he seems to bat harder than ever. No one and nothing is off limits. From the American government to anti-vaxxers, the state of our ‘news’ panel shows to his grievance with the Oxford dictionary, everyone gets a roasting.
Anderson has never been one to shy away from topics others may avoid. Blurring the line between appropriate and inappropriate humour is his forte, with belly laughs and shocked gasps echoing throughout the venue. It is his all-in attitude that makes an Anderson show one to remember. He’ll say something that will genuinely make you think, turn it into a hysterical gag and do it all over again.
From an amusing attack on alternative medicine to criticism of Australia’s reaction to domestic violence, all the way to quips about his own health problems and personal failings, the intelligent Anderson is as comfortable covering the tough issues as he is making fun of himself.
Amongst the tried and tested jokes that Anderson has taken to stages around the country are candid moments of brilliance. As Anderson’s mind buzzes at a million miles an hour, he’ll spot something – or someone – in the crowd that inspires a tangent. A woman with a flashing phone, a mother and daughter enjoying the show together – each of these off-the-cuff improvisations displaying Anderson’s true comedic talent.
As his show draws to a close, he surprises us all, “Don’t believe everything I say, just because I say it in a funny way,” he quips, before going on to shut down some of the facts he’d based his previous jokes on. And maybe we all need to question a bit more in our everyday lives – we are living in a post-truth world after all.
There’s a beauty in the experience of sitting in a room with 1000 other strangers laughing about how fucked the world probably is. Thanks Ando.
By Gloria Brancatisano