Adelaide Fringe 2012

Peter Berner in How to Succeed with Imperfect Teeth

0 Comments 18 March 2012

Presented by More+Comedy
@ The Comedy Cellar
FRIDAY 16 March (until March 17)

“I’m 49.” Again and again Peter Berner mentions his age, making sure the fact was nailed into our minds. He tells us that he’s not completely past it yet, but he can’t wait for old age before engaging in the sort of unforgiving honesty that old people can get away with.

His show is all about honesty. He’s honest about himself and his anal bleeding. He’s honest about what he thinks of various countries and their figureheads. He’s honest about thoughts that we all have but don’t dare to express. One of those is “we don’t need everyone”; walking the streets of Adelaide, he says, are many people for whom he can’t see the point. Disguised as jokes, he throws us truths and opinions that perhaps only a jaded 49-year-old would fully notice or express.

One of his items is about what he calls the compassion pie. He talks about all the terrible events happening in the world for which we are supposed to show compassion. But compassion, he says, is a finite resource. He’s right, we’re constantly bombarded by causes and charities and problems, and we seem to care about each new one a little less. It’s a thought that is probably in many people’s minds, just not fully realized. His show is full of these things, little truths that he has worked into joke form.

I found him more interesting than funny, although I still laughed. I went to the show with my dad, who is 48, and he laughed his pants off. Peter’s humour is appreciated more by an older crowd, perhaps. But it was a great show.

Peter Berner isn’t one of those comedians who spend a year writing their shows. For example, he worked Kony 2012 into his act, a phenomenon only a week or so old. He talked about the recent leadership ballot between Rudd and Gillard. His is a dry wit, with his jaded persona and intelligent take on contemporary events. He reinforced his jokes with a shitload of cursewords (ha) but didn’t come off like Wil Anderson, whose punch lines are often based around swearing.

It was at the Comedy Cellar, which is a pretty classic standup bar. The atmosphere was great, and it was a perfect setting for Berner. His act doesn’t really involve audience interaction, and the stage’s separation from the audience worked well for him.

Peter Berner is a very smart funny-man. You can catch him in various media outlets in small doses, but if the chance to see him for a whole hour comes up, take the opportunity. We may not need everyone, but we definitely need Peter Berner.

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