Gerard McGowan is a true surprise. His 2018 Comedy Festival show, Only Getting Funnier is his last comedy foray for the foreseeable future, and boy, he goes out with a bang. Or at least, with a slow burning, self-deprecating hilarity that will make you feel equal warmth and disgust for him by the final bow.
McGowan has spent eight years dividing his time between a “proper job” – civil construction – and his late night, comedic alter ego. His day work makes excellent fodder for his writing, although if anecdotal humour from a work culture that is a little bit crass and crude doesn’t quite hit the mark for you, it’ll still be worth staying in your seat because McGowan has some treats hidden up his sleeve.
This is McGowan’s first and last year at the Melbourne Comedy Festival: he says he doesn’t like doing intimate, small venue stand-up routines. It’s a little hard to buy this though, because he works with the heckling crowd so well. He may call comedy “soul destroying” but McGowan can ad lib with the best of them.
A joke about a pizza-swindling Tinder date is the true pinnacle of Only Getting Funnier, and although there’ll be no spoilers here, the story ends with some pretty impressive multimedia and lightening theatrics, and use of McGowan’s favourite comedy trope: the callback.
There’s also a horrifying anecdote about a computer camera hacking, which is just as educational as it is humorous.
McGowan proves that he is leaving comedy just before he reaches his peak. This final show is full of ups and downs – from jokes that produce a content half smirk, to those that warrant a full-on belly laugh – in a routine that truly does crescendo and only get funnier as the hour wears on.