There’s a common presumption that a free show is going to be terrible and that the so-called ‘comedian’ is some loose unit from just across the road. In this case, that statement is partially true. In Man vs Meth: The Last Hurrah, Hughes shares his experiences as being the local “loose unit” and his dealings with meth and addiction, from having a disco ball hanging from his genitals to mistakenly buying salt for 500 dollars. Hughes gives a lot to his audience; his act doesn’t alienate but welcomes everyone in for a laugh.
The topic for his hour can be difficult in comedy. Although many comedians have spoken about addiction and drugs, many find it hard to be as frank and as open in such a charming way as Simon Hughes. Reading the title, it’s framed as being dark and a little bit ruthless comedy, however it surpasses expectation by leaving you with cheeky stories, dances and PowerPoint slides.
Hughes’ use of PowerPoint and interpretative dance acted as perfect segue to a seamlessly delivered show. Starting the show by spitting his own verse of ‘Ice Ice Baby’ set the tone of the show as light hearted, personal and dark. Hughes’ slides of his childhood to pictures of him during his addiction periods showed the clear changes over the course of his life. The pictures also gave him material to bounce his stories off.
Hughes’ ability to talk about his own experiences and create a connection to each audience member in the room is no small feat. The stories that he shares have the affect of being relatable to some and his experiences give a face to drug users. It was truly amazing to see and to get out of a comedy show with a sense of comradery.
Simon Hughes’ Man vs Meth is a perfect hour of comedy, he has built a show that is fun, casual, welcoming but also addresses drugs and addiction from his perspective. It is a gift to the Melbourne Comedy show that shouldn’t be underappreciated.
Catch Simon Hughes’ Man vs Meth at Colonial Hotel on Friday April 12, Saturday April 13 and Saturday April 20 as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival.