Matt Grantham is what I’d call staple fare of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for anyone on a tight budget – a stand-up performer, dressed as casually as possible, eliciting plenty of laughs in a tucked-away Melbourne venue, where the chairs are crammed in tightly and there’s not a prop in sight.

Grantham hails from north Queensland, home of outlandish politicians, which may be the root cause behind a show that talks about the big events of the past twelve months and is entitled “How many politicians does it take to change a light bulb?”

He touches on the Arab Spring, climate change and Rupert Murdoch, amongst other things. There’s some good gags, particularly when it comes to the Republican presidential candidates and of course Queensland’s renegade MP Bob Katter, a prime target for comedy. At times Grantham’s delivery was a bit tentative, but it was opening night and I expect he’ll hit his stride after a few more performances.

Some of the stories fall flat, which seemed to be because they were stories the audience had heard in the news – more of a twist was needed to turn these into comedy. The civil war in Libya, for example, is a little too recent for it to be easily mined for humour, but a different audience might react more easily than on opening night.

Still, the performance was never boring, and Grantham’s mid-show answers to the light bulb question hit their mark. The location is a plus – take it easy in the bar on the ground floor of Fad Gallery before heading up two flights of stairs to the cosy and completely chilled-out comedy venue.

If you don’t mind a not-quite-seamless joining of comedy and social commentary, then there’s enough wit and laughs in Matt Grantham’s show to make it worth seeing.

Matt Grantham in How Many Politicians Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? is playing Tuesday to Saturday at 6.30pm in the Fad Gallery until April 21.

Suzannah Marshall Macbeth blogs over at Equineocean.

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