Full disclosure: I want to be this guy’s bffl.
I’ve not been to Comedy Fest before, but I’ve watched lots of stand-up online. This doesn’t make me in any way qualify to write me a review, but hey, this is the internet, and you’re reading it.
I’ve seen Tim Batt three times before, each at the now defunct ‘Encore’ on K’Rd. Batt and his old mate Montcomedy (gomery) - the Guy who won the Billy T last year - pride themselves on spending 142 minutes each week on The Worst Idea of All Time (season two): watching Sex and the City 2. This is something that would be characterised as ‘bitching and moaning’ if these dudes weren’t dudes, but because they are, and they carry it off with a combined finesse of New Zealand-brand awkwardness and endearment, they’ve got thousands of loyal fans.
Internet aside and back to the review thing, Mr Batt’s exploration of the human experience takes place downstairs at the Montecristo, a space I feel is perhaps a little too small for how big this guy’s gonna be. Audience interaction kicked off from the time Batt introduced himself to the stage, and poor old assumedly right-wing Peter in the front row was man of the hour from word go.
I like observational comedy, and Battman’s good at it. If I’m to criticise him for something, it’s that he lost some of the less hardcore (i.e. not me) suckers for his wit at the points he delved deeper than the laughs. There is a little philosophy, and I’d argue it’s not even pseudo. Sartre wrapped his metaphysical grapplings in fiction; Batt decides to proffer an alternative to our ingrained apathy by guiding critical thought amidst cackles. You could maybe call this laughing yoga (sans stretching, plus spiritual transformation), whatever that is.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s the road rage, the fast food, the you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do. There’s the anecdotes of drug trips, and break-ups, and all of the colourful characters you meet on the way. But there’s no fourth wall; Batt’s the charming collaboration of your life dreams and cold-sweat nightmares. The proof is in the only prop used, a prompt for truth (which I’m not sure I can give away because he’s still trying to sell tickets).
Timothy’s trying to leave people with something to take away from The Experience, a la George Carlin, an endeavour I respect in a day-and-age where kids’ life lessons are more likely to come from the pirated hard-drive back-catalogue of Game of Thrones than their grandparents.
Take-away: If weed’s ever legalised in New Zealand (because to smoke right now would be illegal, innit), Batt’s on my buckie list.