Tom Gleeson has always been somewhat of an under the radar media performer. He’s on a myriad of television shows from The Project to panel shows but when you say, ‘I’m going to see Tom Gleeson,’ most people will ask you ‘who?’ before Googling him and then realizing they do know who he is but not necessarily his name. Perhaps the main reason for this is he is never really a regular on any of the shows he appears on.
Despite that, his comedy festival run takes place at the Comedy Theatre, one of the festival’s biggest venues. So for someone who the average TV viewer doesn’t seem to know, comedy fans clearly know him. Every time you see him, Tom Gleeson is on form, but Friday night in front of a big crowd, Gleeson was on another level.
He managed to cover a wide range of topics and tie them altogether effortlessly. Of particular note was him complaining about the struggles of being a home owner and it making for rubbish material because the audience couldn’t relate to him, which is the golden rule of comedy. It was just one example of the incredible intellect he possesses that only really comes to the fore when you see him unscripted and performing a full set.
Outlining the struggles of living way out in the suburbs and the challenges regular touring puts on a marriage provided Gleeson ample fodder to turn into more gold. Detailing a recent visit to the motel his parents run in New South Wales and the odd things they’ve done to the accommodation that even he has to stay in was a highlight. Even he has to check in and provide a credit card upon arrival.
When you see a stand-up show, you know it’s a five-star performance when you’re not only laughing the entire way through but it’s also laced with highly intelligent content. The best part wasn’t actually his cleverest but his most relatable material; a rant about how much better than cabs Uber are, and that they deserve everything they get for treating customers like crap forever. There was a communal sense of agreement by anyone in the crowd who has used an Uber.
Simply put, Gleeson is easily one of Australia’s best, and a no-brainer to go see at the festival this year, and every year.
BY ALEXANDER CROWDEN